For almost five years, David Vusich has proven himself an invaluable member of the ProSafe team. David’s dedication to the field of First Aid is impressive, and he boasts decades of experience both as a teacher and a paramedic. By bringing a mix of humor and expertise to the classroom, he doesn’t just emphasize the importance of First Aid training, but the value of education as well.
Originally from Southwest Ontario, David began his career as a paramedic after engaging in a First Aid course that was tied to his driver’s education program. This field work would transition into him becoming a paramedic educator. At this stage, his interest in healthcare collided with a newfound desire to teach others. After many years in paramedicine, he retired from the paramedic field and moved to the west coast. Still having a strong desire to help others learn, he decided to teach First Aid full time, which brings us to today.
We had the chance to steal some of David’s time to ask some questions about his outlook on the world of First Aid. Here is what he had to say, in our first "Teacher Feature":
What brought you into the First Aid field in the first place?
Back in high school driver’s education, our instructor made it mandatory to take a First Aid course. Each year, the drivers ed students participated in a rodeo-style competition, basically to see who could drive the best. It also included a First Aid competition. Paramedics were there coaching and instructing – right after that, I knew that I was hooked.
What is your favourite part about working with ProSafe?
ProSafe has a great team. All of the managers, staff, and instructors here are great to work with. The job itself gives me lots of flexibility, and I feel I can always help people in the classroom learn.
What is your favourite course to teach?
I can’t say that I have one overall favourite, as all of them are fun to teach; each one has a special component that keeps it interesting. Being able to teach a diverse set of courses makes working here a lot of fun.
Can you offer any advice for people seeking a career in First Aid?
Certainly the first step is to take a first aid course, such as the 2-day Canadian Red Cross Standard First Aid course. Find opportunities to make use of your new knowledge and skills, such as acting as a workplace first aid attendant, or volunteering to provide first aid services at events. Then enroll in an Instructor Development course that will prepare you for a career in first aid instruction.
It is important that people who want to become instructors look at other learning opportunities as well. During my 37-year career in paramedicine, I also served as a St. John First Aid instructor trainer, Heart and Stroke instructor, Red Cross instructor, and taught Training and Development at a community college continuing education program. Even while I was doing all of that, I was constantly taking courses and learning new things – I completed my Bachelor of Adult Education and became one of the first in Canada to acquire the American National Emergency Medical Services Educator Certification. It is important to not just do the basics, especially from an instructor’s perspective. If you can, take additional courses, learn how to practice your profession, and continuously grow.
As you constantly learn new things, it is important that you practice your skills. If you are leaning towards teaching, don’t forget to volunteer so that you can apply your skills and keep them sharp through real-life situations and opportunities. Everything will come full circle as you can back up your teachings with actual examples.
What is the most important First Aid skill that everyone should know?
CPR is hands down the most important (no pun intended). Everyone should learn how to do this no matter what. The difference that it makes is essential. Learning how to use an AED is also very important. Together these skills form important links in the chain of survival. Knowing these can save a lot of lives.
What is a fact about First Aid, or health in general, that most people may not be familiar with?
Not everything you see on medical TV shows is real. For example, not everyone “jumps” when an AED delivers a potentially life-saving electrical shock to someone in cardiac arrest. That’s just a bit of Hollywood drama.
Which programs are best for job seekers?
Well, the broadest spectrum of applicable knowledge obviously comes from the First Aid certification programs themselves. This is something you can use in any job; it is also something that you can use in everyday life. It has the broadest reach across the board.
Can you offer any insights into the future of the First Aid field?
No doubt the number one change in everything we do these days is Covid-related. This is ironic, because I spent a number of years working in public health and we would often talk about how we were long overdue for a Global pandemic because they come in cycles, and here we are. COVID-19 has changed both the way we teach first aid, and the way we apply first aid.
Looking back, AEDs were a significant step forward. Just the fact that they are so accessible – in libraries, swimming pools, hockey arenas, you name it. It’s just like years ago, when they started putting fire extinguishers on the wall; now there are AEDs on the wall – even people who aren’t trained can use them.
Do you have any memorable experiences that you can share that underline the importance of First Aid?
Some of the most memorable experiences have come up recently. There are ProSafe instructors that started off simply taking a course who ended up being so impressed with what was being taught, they asked how they could become a teacher. I spent time with them, worked with them, showed them the process and how to grow. And now you see a new generation coming in to take over from us old guys! Working with the new instructors, and helping them learn and grow is a great feeling.