I’ve been teaching the ‘Pandemic Edition’ of BLS, CPR AED, and First Aid for several months now to keep my class participants safe and healthy.

A few weeks ago the term ‘Separate Teamwork’ came to mind in a class. And I’ve been using this term ever since then because it’s a good way to describe how I’m teaching team activities in physically distanced classroom.

So what is Separated Teamwork?

Class participants in BLS classes will practice team activities and skills on their own manikins rather than on 1 manikin. This allows us to physically distance for safety, but still allows us to practice teamwork.

So for example in the 2-person BLS activity, Rescuer 1 will practice Scene Safety, Assessment, and begin Compressions on their manikin. Rescuer 2 will provide Ventilations with the Bag Mask Device on their manikin. Both students will practice the BLS skills of 2-rescuer CPR, but on their separate manikins. To make this work effectively both students must verbalize the skills they are performing as they are doing them. This same Separated Teamwork concept also works well in the Team Dynamics portion of the BLS course as I expand and assign the skills to up to 4 class participants.

Separated Teamwork is more difficult than regular teamwork. Class participants have to not only focus on the skills they are demonstrating, but have to also be watching each other to know when to perform their skills in sequence with the others. Having participants verbalize their skills as they are doing them helps to make Separated Teamwork work, but I think also helps to reinforce what each team member is doing.

Teaching physical skills and teamwork while physically distancing to stay safe during a pandemic is a challenge. Finding new ways to teach skills we would practice together or with a partner has required us to be flexible and creative to Safely Teaching Safety while following the Guidelines of the programs we’re offering.

Separated Teamwork
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