Primary Survey

Caregiver Peter has been enrolled on a first aid course to become one of the nominated ‘first aiders’ at the Bridge Street nursing home. Peter must attend a number of training sessions before he can be recognised as a qualified first aid provider.

Situation: Peter is attending a specific first aid training workshop concerned with carrying out a primary survey, in the event of finding someone unconscious. The primary survey is designed to determine a number of factors quickly and in an order of priority, before any first aid is administered or the emergency services are called.

Audio: Listen to the audio file here.

Grammar points:

Superlative adjectives, use of the definite article

Persons: Mr Law (first aid training instructor) and Peter (caregiver)

Location: The session takes place in a training room.

Mr Law: The first thing I want to cover with you is something called the primary survey. It is one of the most important things you will learn during this course, so please pay attention and take notes. Imagine that you have walked into a room and you find someone collapsed on the floor. You do not know what has happened. In this situation we will follow a process called the primary survey, to give us the best opportunity to quickly determine what we need to do. The easiest way to remember the primary survey is to think of Dr ABC, where Dr is shortened to D R. D R A B C. These initials stand for danger, response, airway, breathing and circulation. First of all, I need a volunteer. Peter would you like to assist me by lying on the floor over here?
Peter: Of course, should I do that now?
Mr Law: Yes, just lie on your back on the floor. Peter I want you to act as though you are unconscious. The first thing I do is look around to see if there is any danger to myself or others. When I’m certain that there’s no danger I approach the patient. Peter? Peter? Are you ok? Can you hear me? As the patient doesn’t respond to my voice I will gently tap his shoulders. Peter this is Ian, are you ok? As the patient still hasn’t responded I will now open his airway. The airway is the passage in the throat. To open the airway I gently place one hand on his forehead and using two fingers beneath his chin, I gently tilt the head back. I can also check inside his mouth to ensure there is no obvious obstruction or that his tongue hasn’t fallen back into his mouth. I will now check if the patient is breathing by placing my cheek close to the nose and mouth, while looking down the body for signs of breathing. In this case I can see that he’s breathing. To check the patient’s circulation, I press firmly on his forehead for around two seconds. When I release I’m looking for the pink colour to return to the area I pressed. If it returns the circulation is good, if not then I need to address his circulation. I can see the circulation is fine so now I will check all around the body for any severe bleeding or obvious injury. Once that is done the primary survey is complete.
Peter: Can I return to my seat now?
Mr Law: Yes of course Peter, but can you remind us of what Dr ABC stands for in a primary survey?
Peter: Look for danger, check for a response, open the airway, check for breathing and finally check the patient’s circulation.
Mr Law: The perfect answer Peter, excellent. I’m pleased that you pay attention, even when you’re unconscious.
Peter: At what point should you carry out a primary survey?
Mr Law: The optimal time for carrying out a primary survey is as soon as you encounter the situation. The speed in which you act in an emergency situation is of the utmost importance. However, never compromise the efficiency of your actions by rushing.
Peter: Can we practise the primary survey during this session?
Mr Law: Yes of course. Please work in groups of three people. One person will be the patient, one person will be the first aider, and the third person will be the observer. Observers, please take notes and report back to the group on their performance after the primary survey has been completed.
Project number: 543336-LLP-1-2013-1-DE-KA2-KA2MP - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication [communication] reflects the views only of the author, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.