Kids are ready, teddy, go to learn life-saving skills thanks to a dedicated group of NHS Lanarkshire nurses.
Young schoolchildren are performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) on their favourite teddy bears and other soft toys under the guidance of the Wishaw General Hospital nurses, who devote their own time to teach the classes and are now in the running for a national award.
Known as Team Wishaw ED, the group is made up of staff nurse Caroline Casey, charge nurse Fiona Torrance, charge nurse Michelle Graham and staff nurse Fiona Macpherson, who all work in Wishaw General’s emergency department (ED), and staff nurse Laura Gillies, who works in the hospital’s coronary care unit.
The nurses started their project in April and have taught CPR in eight Lanarkshire primary schools since then.
The team have trained over 1700 children and have another 13 schools lined up for a visit. They are finalists in the Community First Aid Champion Award in the St Andrews Scottish First Aid Awards, which will be announced later this month.
Caroline Casey said: “We had all talked for a while about the idea of spending some of our free time teaching CPR to primary school children.
“We found out about the organisation Save a Life for Scotland, which teaches people CPR. They helped us to set up and gave us training videos suitable for children.
“The kids love it when we go into the schools,” added Caroline, 36.
“We make it exciting for them – it’s not at all scary. The Primary 1-3 children practise the chest compressions on their teddies or other favourite soft toys. The older children use a CPR dummy.
“Of course, the little ones probably won’t have the strength to do CPR in a real situation but they are learning the skill for when they get older, and they can tell their parents about it. We also teach them other crucial information about things they can do in emergency situations, such as shouting for help or calling 999 and clearly explaining their location.
“Many of the older pupils would hopefully be able to carry out the chest compressions effectively.
“I have two boys, aged eight and six, and they both got the training at school. They like to practise at home on their teddies and it’s great to see them so involved in it.”
“We get a lot of satisfaction from volunteering to do this work and we hope to do the training in as many primary schools across Lanarkshire as possible” added Caroline.
Their latest visit was to Braidwood Primary in Carluke, where they were joined by Wishaw general emergency medicine consultant Jacqui Macnair.
Among the children learning CPR were Primary 6 pupils Adele and Calum, who said they enjoyed the training.
Calum commented: “I found out how much of a life-saver CPR is. I would be confident I could do it.”
Adele added: “I learned to keep pushing down on the person’s chest until the ambulance gets there.”
Wishaw General chief of nursing services Gillian McAuley praised the team’s devotion to the project.
She said: “It’s fantastic to see our nurses volunteering so much of their time to help children learn these vital skills.”
The nurses all live in the Wishaw area.
Team Wishaw ED can be contacted through their Twitter feed @TeamWishawED or by email at TeamWishawED@yahoo.com.
Schools visited so far by Team Wishaw ED:
Morningside Ps, Newmains
Calderbridge Ps, Coltness
St Thomas' Ps, Wishaw
Wester Overton, Strathaven
Rochsolloch Ps, Airdrie
All Saints Ps, Airdrie
Schools to be visited:
Lawmuir PS, Bellshill
Townhead PS, Coatbridge
St Mary's PS, Cleland
Dykehead PS, Shotts
Clarkston PS, Airdrie
Woodhead PS, Hamilton
St Aidan's PS, Coltness
Woodpark PS, Lesmahagow
Woodside PS, Hamilton