Tips on...

Becoming an instructor in advanced life support

Authors: Rob Morrison 

Publication date:  11 Sep 2004

Being an approved instructor for the Resuscitation Council UK can be rewarding, fun, and a good way to learn teaching skills and keep your knowledge of resuscitation up to date. Whether you're interested in advanced life support (ALS) or advanced paediatric life support (APLS), here are some tips


The first step is to be put forward by the relevant course faculty member as having “instructor potential” (IP). Once you have been “IP'd” you then have to pass the generic instructor course. Following that you have to work as an instructor candidate (IC) on two courses under supervision. To stay accredited you must teach on three courses every two years

How to get IP'd

You should approach your resuscitation officer and let him or her know you are interested. They will then usually let the faculty know and may keep an eye on you during the course.


  • Make sure you know your manual thoroughly, and score well in the multiple choice paper and the practical tests

  • Introduce yourself to the other candidates and chat to colleagues and faculty members

  • Always arrive early, and be willing to lend a hand to move chairs or clear up stuff, but don't be pushy

  • Be sensitive to how your colleagues are getting on. If someone is struggling with something you find easy—help them

  • Be aware how to give constructive criticism when asked to do so—it's part of the course.


  • Ever argue with the faculty—if you disagree with a faculty member, talk it over in private

  • Try to stand out by showing off. The course is not about what you know—it's about what's in the manual

  • Spend breaks sitting in the corner swotting up on the manual; have a chat with the others

  • Take it personally if you are unsuccessful; ask for feedback and if you are still keen, have a go next time.

Rob Morrison resuscitation officer and ALS/APLS Instructor Darent Valley Hospital, Dartford, Kent

Cite this as BMJ Careers ; doi: