EMS Education Tips First Aid

Tips for Teaching CPR Effectively

If you are an aspiring EMS educator or training officer one of the best ways to start is by becoming a CPR instructor. Then teach CPR and standard first aid as often as you can. The repetition will:

  • hone your teaching skills
  • improve your public speaking talent
  • increase your ability to listen and respond to questions.

Here are Everyday EMS Tips for teaching CPR to lay rescuers:

1. Follow the curriculum and use the instructional materials provided by a national or international program, like the American Heart Association. Believe it or not experienced educators and instructional designers have researched and tried many methods to develop effective teaching systems.

2. Learn the names of your students. They will appreciate your interest in them and it will be easier for you to correct performance mistakes when you address the student by name.

3. Listen as the students watch the video segments. They will ask questions about specific statements in the video so you need to be ready to answer their questions.

4. Save your war stories and compression heroics for after class (if at all). This is the student’s time to learn to recognize an emergency, call for help, and begin CPR and use an AED.

5. Encourage and build confidence in your students to take action. Bystander CPR from lay rescuers is strongly associated with surviving cardiac arrest. (learn more about sudden cardiac arrest survival in the book Resuscitate by Dr. Mickey S. Eisenberg)

Finally, doing CPR doesn’t make you an expert in teaching CPR. But teaching CPR will likely make you better at doing CPR.

What do you think are characteristics of a really good CPR instructor?

By Greg Friese

Greg Friese, Stevens Point, Wisconsin, is an author, educator, paramedic, and marathon runner.

Greg was the co-host of the award winning EMSEduCast podcast, the only podcast by and for EMS educators. Greg has written for,, Wilderness Medical Associates, JEMS Magazine, and EMS World Magazine, and the NAEMSE Educator Newsletter.