Emergency, cardiac arrest! Can we teach the skills?

P Moule, C Knight
Nurse Education Today 1997, 17 (2): 99-105
The European Resuscitation Council (ERC) has produced basic life support (BLS) and advanced life support (ALS) guidelines (1992) in an attempt to standardize the training and delivery of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). In response to this, the Avon and Gloucestershire College of Health, Glenside Centre (now University of the West of England), conducted a small survey, testing students' knowledge and skills in delivering CPR. Students were able to improve knowledge levels, but did not uniformly improve practical skills. Following this, the college formed a resuscitation team whose members coordinate CPR training in the curriculum, using uniform teaching packs which follow the ERC Guidelines (ERC 1992a), and resuscitation equipment purchased by the college as the result of the research findings. In addition to maintaining uniform content, sessions are compulsory and students' CPR skills are tested, with a 70% competency level set as a pass. Student results and attendance are stored on a college database, along with tutor information regarding updating of CPR skills. To achieve these developments, the college has had to consider time allocation within the curriculum, training of tutors, funding of resources and funding of a compulsory training programme, which supports a ratio of one tutor to six students. Evaluations of the changes are favourable, as students' CPR skills and knowledge show obvious improvement and the students' general confidence and enthusiasm are enhanced.

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