The Revision Guide for Student Nurses (Part I)

Objectives of First Aid - Answers


  1. State the 3 aims of first aid.
    • To preserve life.
    • To prevent suffering.
    • To prevent the situation deteriorating.
  2. State the rules of first aid.
    • Keep calm.
    • Maintain the airway.
    • Control any haemorrhage.
    • Seek assistance if required.
  3. When administering first aid at work, what 4 things must you consider before commencement?
    • Assess the situation.
    • Look for dangers to yourself or the casualty.
    • Never put yourself at risk.
    • Assess the casualty.
      Take care not to become a casualty yourself while administering first aid. Use protective equipment and clothing where necessary. If you need help, send for it immediately. If an ambulance is needed, arrangements should be made for it to be directed to the scene of the accident without delay. Casualties should be seated or lying down when being treated, as appropriate.
  4. What risks are associated with the administration of human first aid?
    • The transmission of infectious diseases (always were disposable gloves especially when dealing with cases of haemorrhage).
    • Personal injury (eg. trying to move a patient without assistance, aggression or accidental injury if a patient has a fit - remember adults are heavy!).
    • Legal action (in the case of inappropriate first aid).
  5. What is meant by the "ABC" of first aid?

    A = Airway - open the airway by gently tilting the head back and lifting the chin using the tips of 2 fingers.

    B = Breathing - look along the chest, listen and feel at the mouth for signs of breathing. If the casualty is breathing:

    i) Place in the recovery position and ensure that the airway remains open.
    ii) Monitor the casualty until help arrives.
    If the casualty is not breathing:
    i) Send for help.
    ii) Place the casualty on their back and ensure the airway is still open.
    iii) Check the mouth and carefully remove any obvious obstruction.
    iv) Keep the casualty's head tilted back while opening the mouth and pinching the nose firmly with your index finger and thumb.
    v) Take a full breath and firmly breath into the mouth until the chest rises, ensuring a good seal is made around the mouth.
    vi) Remove your mouth from the casualty and let the chest fall.
    vii) Give a second breath then look for signs of circulation (see C).
    viii) If signs of circulation are present - continue breathing for the casualty, and when they start to breathe, put them into the recovery position.

    C = Circulation - check the casualty's circulation by looking for any movement and feeling for the pulse for no more than 10 seconds. If there are no signs of circulation, immediately start chest compressions.

    i) Lean over the casualty and with straight arms, press vertically down 4-5cm on the breastbone, then release the pressure.
    ii) Give 30 chest compressions (a rate of about 100 per minute) followed by 2 breaths.
    iii) Continue alternating 30 chest compressions with 2 breaths until help arrives or the casualty shows signs of recovery or you are 2 tired to continue yourself. 
  6. You are supervising a work experience pupil in theatre, and she complains that she feels faint. Describe your actions.
    • Inform the veterinary surgeon.
    • Call for assistance whilst offering support to the pupil; do not leave her unattended in case she does faint, falling over and injuring herself.
    • Assist the pupil to a quiet area and sit her down in a low chair with support or on the floor with her back supported by a wall.
    • Remove any constrictive clothing or jewellery from the throat/neck.
    • Advise her to lower her head between her knees and to take deep breaths.
    • Should the pupil actually faint, she should be lain on the floor with her legs raised (the aim is to position the casualty so that gravity helps the blood flow to the brain).
    • Keep the pupil warm and calm and ensure that her airway is clear.
    • Contact the pupil's parent/s or tutor.
    • Record details of the incident in the accident book.
  7. A colleague has had an electric shock from using faulty electric clippers. Describe your actions.
    • Shout for help and an ambulance.
    • Do NOT touch the casualty with your bare hands. Break the contact by switching off the current, removing the plug or wrenching the cable free. If this is not possible: stand on a dry, insulating material (such as a wooden pallet or plastic mat), then use a dry wooden or plastic implement to free the casualty from contact with the electrical source. If such resources are unavailable, rubber or plastic insulating gloves or a dry rope loop may be used to pull the casualty free.
    • Once the casualty is free from contact with the electrical source, follow the ABC as per your answer to Q5.
    • Record the incident in the accident book.
      When electricity passes through the body it carries shock and burns. An electric shock can affect the heart, and may even cause the heart to stop completely. Electrical burns occur when the current passes into and out of the body. There may be little damage to the skin but damage underneath the skin may be serious.
  8. A colleague has injured himself on a glass vial and is haemorrhaging heavily from a wound to his hand. Describe your actions.
    • Adorn a protective apron and disposable gloves.
    • Sit the colleague down in a low chair with support, or on the floor with his back supported by a wall.
    • Control the haemorrhage by placing direct pressure with the fingers and thumb on the bleeding point.
    • Apply a dressing.
    • Raise the bleeding limb to help reduce the flow of blood (this is contra-indicated if fractures are suspected).
    • If sutures are likely to be required, assist your colleague to casualty.
    • Clean up any soiled dressings carefully and dispose of in clinical waste.
    • Record details of the incident in the accident book
  9. A colleague has fallen down a staircase and you suspect that she has fractured her femur. She is conscious, but shocked. Describe your actions.
    • Call for an ambulance.
    • Do NOT move the casualty unless she is in a position which exposes her to immediate danger.
    • Ensure that the casualty's airway is clear, and that she continues to breathe. Check her pulse regularly.
    • Keep the casualty warm.
    • Provide calm reassurance and let the casualty know that help is on its way.
    • Do NOT offer anything to drink or eat.
    • Record the incident in the accident book.
    • A fracture of a long bone of a limb is classified by RIDDOR as a major accident, and a telephone report must be submitted as soon as possible to the HSE. Written confirmation (Form 2508) must follow within 7 days.
  10. A colleague has scalded her arm with boiling water. What must you NOT do?
    • Remove any clothing which is sticking to the scalds.
    • Burst any blisters.
  11. Describe the first aid procedure for dealing with chemical burns.
    • Avoid contaminating yourself with the chemical; adorn a protective apron, gloves and mask.
    • Remove any contaminated clothing which is not stuck to the skin.
    • Flush with plenty of clean, cool water for 10-15 minutes.
    • Apply a sterile dressing to exposed, damaged skin and send the casualty to hospital (with the data sheet for the chemical involved).
    • Report the accident and record details in the accident book.
  12. Describe the first aid procedure for dealing with eye injuries.
    • Loose foreign bodies should be flushed out with clean, cool water at the eyewash station.
    • Chemicals in the eye should be flushed out with clean, cool water at the eyewash station for 10-15 minutes.
    • People with eye injuries should be sent to hospital with the injured eye covered with an eye pad.