Does gender matter when it comes to situations that require lifesaving skills? Apparently, male and female differences are given a major consideration when it comes to emergency response and similar fields. While women make up almost half of a country’s workforce, there is an apparent disparity in the number of women in the field of law enforcement, firefighting and even first aid.

The world has faced different crisis situations from the everyday life emergencies to the catastrophic earthquakes, flooding and tsunamis that has taken millions of lives. Amidst all these are men and women emergency responders who have provided first aid on-site, even before doctors and other health personnel arrived on the scene. While women first aiders have proven their worth in any emergency situation, there are still doubts as to whether or not they can be at par with their male counterparts when it comes to efficiency.

Men and women respond to emergency situations differently, according to Matt, first aid trainer at Australia Wide First Aid, an organisation that provides First Aid solutions and training courses. But regardless of their gender, first aiders are invaluable members of the community as they provide much-needed assistance to persons who get injured at home, workplace or in any location.

Are Women Less Effective in Giving First Aid?

A study conducted by the University of Basel in Switzerland on the “Influence of Gender on the Performance of Cardiopulmonary Rescue Teams” shows that women are less effective than men when it comes to Cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR. The team also conducted research on the leadership skills and communication skills of men and women. These skills are said to be critical in the conduct of CPR as they increase the chances of survival of the patient.

The researchers emphasised the importance of uninterrupted breaths and chest compressions especially when it involves cardiac arrest cases. They found out that women have less control of an emergency situation compared to men. The study also showed that women take a long time to act on a given emergency situation.

University of Basel Professor Sabina Hunziker, who led the study, said the CPR performance of female rescuers was not only inferior to their male counterparts. They also started the chest compressions late or in a delayed manner.

Despite the stark differences in the performances of male and female first aid responders, female responders can still improve on their skills to improve their efficiency as first aiders. A good responder should have the initiative to act even when faced with pressure. Being a team player and having a positive outlook also helps.

How can Women Improve their First Aid Skills?

1.Get the Basic First Aid Course

You can only be an effective first aid responder if you have taken the basic first aid course. The first thing to do is to master the basic first aid course, preferably from a reputable organisation that offers the course such as the Red Cross or other private organisations. You can even check your community college if they offer course.

Once you have completed the basic first aid course, you need to refresh and practice your knowledge. No matter how good you are in theoretical knowledge, nothing can beat the actual hands-on experience.

2.Be Mentally Prepared

Mental Preparedness is often the key to success in whatever you do and in this is true for first aid. Being prepared mentally means having an open mind to learn the basic and even advance first aid techniques. It also means being able to immediately react when the situation calls for your first aid skills.

When your mind is prepared, you are ready to act on any stressor, specifically an emergency. Accidents can happen at home and in your workplace. It can happen just about anywhere and most often, your mental preparedness will determine the effectiveness and timeliness of your actions.

3.Improve your Communication Skills

A good first aid responder should have the ability to communicate properly. When there is an emergency, you need to be able to ask the persons involved the right questions that will help you respond to their emergencies. Communication can be difficult when the patient is in pain or in panic. But if you know which buttons to push, then you will be able to get the right answers at the right time.

Good communication skills means being able to talk in a calm manner no matter how serious the situation is. It means being able to reassure the patient that help is on its way, and that everything will be just fine. As a first aider, you need to know the symptoms to determine what needs to be done. You need to know what happened, and how many people need help. You can only get this information if you can communicate properly with the patient and other people in the vicinity.

4.Develop Grace Under Pressure

It is difficult to still be calm when all else around you is on panic. However, once you have learned the trick of remaining calm in when faced with an emergency situation, then you will be able to face anything despite the pressure.

As a first aid responder, you need to act cool and calm to earn the trust of the patient. Otherwise, you won’t be able to get the necessary information that will help you perform the necessary lifesaving skills. Grace under pressure means being able to get the details of the situation despite the challenges you face.

5. Take Specialised Courses in First Aid

Once you have mastered the basics of first aid, then you are ready to move on to the more difficult courses. There are specialised first aid courses that will allow you to respond to specific situations. Completing a specialised first aid course will help you improve not only your skills but also your confidence.

You can choose from a variety of specialised courses such as wilderness first aid which includes skills in responding to heat strokes, snake bites or broken bones. Sports first aid will give you the proper skills to respond to injuries related to sports. You can even develop an expertise on certain injuries and emergency situations.

Men and women are made differently. This explains the different ways in which they respond to certain situations. Instead of being discouraged by the findings that women are less effective than men when it comes to first aid response, why not improve your skills in first aid and show them what you got under your sleeves.