About Rob Bryant, CEO of Paraguard Training

In this extract, Rob Bryant the director of training at Paraguard and founder of First Aid Courses Perth speaks about how he got started in the First Aid industry. He also shares his passion around teamwork and improving the teaching methods of emergency response training along with the skills of his students.

Interviewer : So Rob, how did you get started in first aid?

Rob Bryant : You mean from the very beginning?

Interviewer : Yes.

Rob Bryant :I joined the Royal Australian Navy in 1986 as a medical Sailor and had a long and enjoyable career working my way from, what is now referred to as a Basic Medical Assistant, through to a Clinical Manager – clinically the pinnacle of that particular career path. As a Clinical Manager we were responsible for the provision of and coordination of medical emergency response aboard a ship at sea. Due to the remoteness of the maritime environment, we were trained and prepared to  stabilize and manage a casualty for up to 72 hours (estimated extreme wait time for a medical evacuation) in a worse case scenario. While this may seem daunting to some I always had trust in my training and the skills gained over many years.

At sea the navy has Ships Medical Emergency Teams. These teams are non-medical sailors who are trained up to an Advanced First Aid Level. I managed and directed the ongoing training of these teams not only in their first aid skills, but how to work collaboratively as a team. I found that I really enjoyed the training aspects of the role and on a number of occasions I actually found that during the exercise I couldn’t help giving a lecture to my first aiders on why we did certain things a particular way. That thought has always been in the back of my mind.

The other thing I found with medics, including myself, at the time was that we were very good at what we did clinically. But not so good in working within a team environment. I believe this is because when we are taught our protocols, be it at that advance clinical level or a standard first aid level, we were taught how to perform every aspect of a treatment plan in isolation. So when you are faced with a trauma situation are prepared and ready to do everything. The problem is, so is every other member of the team. The result was chaos.

My realisation that this was a problem significantly changed the way I trained my medical  emergency teams. While they needed to be able to work independently, it was more important that they worked as a team. As we move up the various levels of first aid training,  I believe, it something that is sorely lacking. So, anyway, I took that away with me. I forced myself to stand back and to assess the situation, looking at my resources and how to get the better value from them and how to direct and correct my team members constructively.

Later when I moved into more managerial positions I still had that responsibility of overseeing the training of medical teams. I was part of the emergency response coordination team at various shore establishments. I guess that was when I realised that I was passionate about, not only teaching people First Aid, but also having confidence that my team members knew how to work independently and in a team and to get that dynamic right.

Now I run short courses in First Aid my staff and I try to get our clients thinking as a team. With a group of strangers it sometimes becomes quite interesting to see the dynamics as they evolve.

I know that I cant expect to get people to become team players in a day or two, but the challenge is my reward. There is no greater validation than when a client returns to tell you a story of the time they had to put in practice what you have taught them and they achieved something truly remarkable. Something they never have imagined being able to do previously.

Contact Rob Bryant by phoning 0433 603 068

or via email.