Students organising the provision of Basic Life Support (BLS) Skills to first year healthcare students at the University of Birmingham have received funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to teach vital lifesaving skills to over 3,000 local secondary school pupils.

Established by three medical students, the Resuscitation for Medical Disciplines (RMD) Birmingham BLS course delivers practical ‘hands on’ instruction in a range of life-saving interventions. It is the largest BLS course in Europe, the only UK centre to award European Resuscitation Council (ERC) qualifications, and a core component of the curriculum for first-year Medicine, Dentistry and Physiotherapy students.

Through the initiative senior students deliver vital lifesaving skills to over 650 fellow healthcare students, and it is a great example of a peer-led student engagement that is helping to shape the next generation of healthcare leaders, researchers and educators.

Students involved in the delivery of the course are also very active in researching BLS provision and teaching techniques. Over the last 12 months they have published the results of five research projects.

BHF have recognised that this innovative teaching resource could dramatically enhance life support training amongst the wider population of the West Midlands. By collaborating with the BHF to form part of the Heartstart scheme, BLS tuition will be provided to over 3,000 Year 8/9 students each year from the University’s ‘Access to Birmingham’ partner schools. This will not only provide enhanced teaching opportunities for students delivering the course, but will also strengthen links with local community groups and prospective students.

RMD, and all staff and students involved with the course, are very proud of what the Birmingham BLS programme achieves, and of the opportunities it provides for enhanced learning and teaching and potentially lifesaving development.

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