My journey to becoming a Recover Instructor started years ago, when I had a keen interest in CPR and a desire to improve. Fast forward a couple of years and I was about to embark on the final stage.
To Ghent we go
I stared in disbelief at the immense volume of people stood in front of me, jostling for position or shuffling with a resigned look upon their face. Surely this couldn’t be the queue.
A ding from overhead and a message from a somewhat dejected voice confirmed that this was indeed the queue but under no circumstances could you join said queue until an hour before your train. I looked at Aurora, did the maths and concluded that we would be leaving late.
Fed up already at the thought of the delay when both of us had wanted to do some revision in peace and quiet we headed for a sugar fix. Instagrammable drinks in hand we mooched around St Pancras. I decided a new lippy was in order and after some splodges on my hand settled with one aptly named ‘Brave’. Brave wasn’t how I was feeling, and I was super anxious about the impending exams. Keep in mind that we had done an online course, practical in Estonia and an entry exam for!
Not only was I heading to Ghent to do the Recover Instructor exam I was also speaking at European Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care (EVECCS) Congress. This had left me feeling like I was about to have an unfortunate bowel movement at any time. I’d spent hours prepping, and diligently writing notes. Having learnt from my experience at previous events where no notes are visible to the speakers.
I was so proud and yet so very overwhelmed to have been invited to speak.
Do the snake
For now, though the most pressing concern was getting on this bloody train. Not actually bloody although with the amount of tension building in the queue I did wonder if a fight would occur at some point- luckily the ones we witnessed were verbal and no more.
At the hour prior to departure mark we duly took up our place in the queue. A more accurate description would be we actually got shouted at by some men in hi-viz and then headed outside. Yes outside, to try and find the end of the queue. Down the road we went, down a bit more and more again before we found the end. Then we waited. Shuffling along, dragging our bags for 2 hours. Snaking around the car park and back out all whilst listening to thunder. It was joyful-insert sarcastic voice.
Now in my head I had the Eurostar as this somewhat luxurious and stress-free experience. Nothing could have been further from the truth. Shockingly organised and total chaos for most of it with a noticeable lack of management!
Chatting with strangers
Eventually we found our seats and 2 hours late we were on our way. I struck up a conversation with a chap called Ike who was sat next to me. We then spent the next 2 hours debating if Covid was all a government conspiracy, the value of civility in the workplace and being asked to speak at Harvard. Him not me. Very inspiring chap who was so lovely! Especially when they announced a train strike in Germany and we started wondering if we would ever get to Ghent. He kindly showed me the right platform in Brussels, checked the train was running and then left his number in case we got stuck.
Waffles and bedtime
Top chap indeed. Waffles in hand (would be rude not to!) we wearily embarked on the final stage of the journey. Grumpy and annoyed that we had lost the evening but glad at least be nearly there. Admin cock ups on my part meant that Aurora and I weren’t staying together. I had another mission before I could dive into bed. Lucky for me some wonderful vet pals were already there and the best bit they were with a car! Happy days for sure. A quick SOS call to them and I was finally in my hotel room and able to relax. Well as much as someone with a full day exam that they’ve travelled miles to do can relax.
The day of the Recover Instructor exam dawned. I’d hoped for a lay in and to feel refreshed and recharged but sadly not the case. I had huge blisters from the Eurostar-shuffle and wasn’t feeling on form. Still make up on and hair done I got ready to tackle to day. Deciding to walk to the convention centre despite being offered a taxi share by lovely Ken wasn’t my best idea.
Recover Instructor Exam time!
By the time I’d arrived my feet were game over. I do quite like an exam though and once we were done with the always cringey introductions- the worst bit of the day for me- I was enjoying myself. We recapped what we had learnt in Estonia but we also applied a lot of the pre work to scenarios. Good job I did it! Exploring what learning method was appropriate when based on previous knowledge but also the time you have available. We then all discussed how to run a debrief.
Debriefing is so under utilised in our profession, especially in CPR and it’s actually quite a skill. Which may explain why it’s not used as much as it could be. For me it was challenging not to offer the answers or information, but rather ask people how they thought it went and then build from there. We did role play with people we’d never met, and by role play I mean mega codes which were so fun. We also learnt about the software and what we would need to run a session. Whilst I have some insight from my teacher training it was still really useful and a great day.
At the end of the day we were all happy to be awarded instructor status!
The Process to be a Recover Instructor
My journey to becoming a Recover Instructor has been a long one. My journey began by completing the online course which you can find here. I loved it and decided I wanted to learn more, I wanted to really finesse my skills with CPR and share these with my co workers.
I found the practical course offered by Recover, this was at EVECCS in Estonia and hands down a fantastic experience. These courses are quite rare and do tend be in Europe but mainly the states. So add little C-Factor in the mix and it was a 3 year wait to complete the final part, the instructor exam.
Now I’m certified I hope to make certification more accessible to those in the UK. I’m looking forward to teaching fellow professionals.