Mock Court PRF Exercise
Going to defend your actions in court – it’s got to be a worst nightmare scenario for first aiders. In fact, the fear of legal action is potentially a common reason people avoid learning first aid in the first place! (It’s worth noting that this really shouldn’t stop you wanting to learn though!) It’s in this situation that we realise how valuable the patient report form (PRF) is...both to the first aider and the patient. The PRF is the opportunity to record everything that happened – what the situation was when the first aider arrived, what they found out, what actions they took, how the patient appeared and acted and then how the situation ended. This should be seen as a good thing by both first aiders and patients: for first aiders in cases where they did everything right and need to show it, and for patients in situations where their care simply wasn’t up to scratch. And yet despite this, we so often think it’s just taking up more of our valuable time and just a load of bureaucracy. This is such a dangerous attitude! We need to change this attitude and demonstrate why PRFs are important. This is where this activity comes in.
This activity isn’t really aimed at brand new first aiders who’ve just passed their assessments and are getting the hang of all the things they’ve learned. It can have a big impact on some of the old-timers though and really start to challenge the thoughts and attitudes that may be ingrained.
A mock court trial is the perfect place to make people realise the value of the PRF. Obviously, don’t use a real PRF as there are a whole heap of issues there...but you could use one that was written in a training exercise or you could just make one up. We’ve found you have a bit more of an impact if you use one someone has actually written in a training scenario though. Pick out a couple of people who you think would be confident enough to be brought up in front of everyone in this mock court environment and use one of their training PRFs without falling to pieces afterwards. It’s good to choose a PRF which isn’t perfect...let your pretend lawyer really try to take it apart – remember, if it’s not on the PRF then it didn’t happen! You can either let them know what’s going to happen or just call them out depending on the specific people involved.
To create a context, create some kind of story as to the reason why the first aiders have been brought to court and then act it out with a fake judge and lawyers. You might also want to have some people to act as witnesses.
But what’s the point of all of this? It shows how a poorly filled in PRF can be warped even if the treatment was excellent. Similarly, it can show how a well filled in PRF can really support you when accusations are made. It is definitely not designed to make people feel rubbish – which is a real danger with this activity. You need to know your group of students well to pick the right people out who would be happy to have their PRF critiqued. You don’t want to crush anyone’s spirit...the idea of mistakes is to learn from them. You need to make sure you use the exercise in a constructive manner that helps people develop and improve rather than just make an example of the training PRF in question.
Follow up the activity with a short discussion on how to fill in your organisation’s PRF effectively and what information needs to go in which box. That way, you have hopefully demonstrated both why they are important and also how to fill them in.
- Don't use this to just make an example of particular people
- Make sure you follow the exercise up with some explanation on how best to fill in your PRF and use the exercise to help explain each section
- Be sensitive to how people will react in this situation - you need to know you group before running this exercise