BACKGROUND: Farming is a hazardous occupation posing health risks from agricultural exposures for the farm owner and family members. First Aid for Rural Medical Emergencies (F.A.R.M.E.) was developed to support a train-the-trainer (TTT) program to prepare high school students to teach first aid skills and risk reduction through peer interaction. This study was designed to evaluate the educational effectiveness for first aid skill development and awareness of safety issues and injury prevention impacting agricultural communities.
METHODS: Forty-three agricultural science students from a rural high school participated in the study. A quasi-experimental design was used to evaluate knowledge acquisition and anticipatory action among groups: those participating in training and a comparison group with no training. The intervention group included 27 participants trained as first aid peer instructors using the F.A.R.M.E. manual, return demonstration, case scenario facilitation training, and teaching evaluation sessions. The effectiveness of the program was evaluated using triangulated data. Independent t test analyses were conducted on post-test scores to evaluate the knowledge acquisition and anticipatory action scores between groups. Focus group sessions assessed attitudes, experiences, and values held following the intervention of teaching peers.
RESULTS: Results indicate that the intervention group scored significantly higher on anticipatory action (t = 2.23, p = .03) but not knowledge acquisition (t = 1.37, p = .18). Focus group data suggest that the TTT format bolstered confidence in teaching, confirmed that teens enjoy learning from teens, and fostered pride in team work.
CONCLUSIONS: The F.A.R.M.E. TTT resulted in a theory and evidence-based intervention that can be implemented in a school setting to promote knowledge and skill acquisition of first aid and injury prevention among rural high school students.