This year for our SSM we taught local primary school children the basic lifesaving skills of CPR and the recovery position, but if I am honest I think we gained as much as they did. Before you start questioning the standard of medical students these days let me explain.
A group of us (First Year Medical Students from NUIG) had to design a teaching programme and deliver a CPR course to local primary school children. Once our workshop was planned everything was organised we headed off to the local primary schools. Our aim was simply to give them a basic understanding and knowledge of the lifesaving skills of CPR as we realised we would also be providing a whole community with this knowledge as we encouraged the children to pass on and share what they learned at the workshop. We didn't just teach them how to perform the skills, but also how to instruct someone else to preform them, so that should the situation arise they could and would have the confidence to talk an adult who had never performed CPR through the whole procedure.
While I enjoyed working with my classmates in preparation for the workshop, teaching the children was most certainly the highlight for me. Their enthusiasm to learn and their raw intrigue didn't fail to amaze and I wasn't alone in this opinion.
""The students all seemed to really enjoy it and we could all see, they wanted to learn. It really made our job a lot earlier and more enjoyable. "- Mark Hoey
The opportunity to go into the community and teach was one which not too many first year Medical students are offered. NUIG's Special Study Module programme, allowed us to do something that benefits others at such an early stage in our studies. The module provided a splash of variety to our routine weeks and allowed us to gain hands on experience.
"For me personally it was a great experience. As Medical students, an awful lot of our pre-clinical years are spent in the library, so to be able to gain personal experience, while also giving back to the community is something that I thoroughly enjoyed. I know it will stand to me in the future."-Mark Hoey
It was only while having lunch with the Maistir of the school at lunch when reality really set in. He explained how a young girl, whom we had been teaching earlier that day, was living proof of the benefit of CPR. It then struck me that what we showed those children may someday save lives, and I think that is quite an impressive and worthwhile day's work if I'm honest. It was the most rewarding thing I have done since going to university and I felt like I may actually have helped someone somewhere in the future, and I guess that is a large part of the reason I entered medicine in the first place.
"It was really inspiring to be able to empower and educate the future generation witch such an important skill that will one day save a lives."- Benoit Bichara
We gained and learned so much from this SSM. We discovered a whole new side to teaching, we developed a new understanding of how teaching children is like teaching a whole community as they pass on what they've learned at home. We gained a renewed appreciation of the importance of community teaching and of CPR training. If I'm brutally honest I feel like we gained as much as we gave, I can only hope that they feel the same way.
"All in all, it was quite the experience. It was refreshing to see the kids as enthusiastic as we were to teach them."-Joyos Botros
Úna Maguire-1st Med