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Essay by: ISP039   

Less than 8% of individuals who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrest survive. This statistic has the potential to be greatly improved if incidences of bystander implemented cardiopulmonary resuscitation increase; unfortunately, many bystanders are unable to recognize when CPR is needed and they unnecessarily fear the possible ramifications– both legal and physical– if they were to take action. Registered nurses are uniquely positioned to promote compression-only CPR within their community by leveraging an already existing CPR educational infrastructure into new environments.

There is a significant need for change in the way potential lay-rescuers are educated. The American Heart Association and American Red Cross teach emergency response skills such as CPR to a combined 22 million people every year, yet only 32% of people suffering from cardiac arrest receive bystander CPR. Even more shocking is that only one out of thirty administered cases of CPR are successful at increasing the survival rate of cardiac arrest. One of the key ways to ignite change would be to encourage school administrators, business managers and major corporations to include compression-only CPR training or bystander first aid for all students and employees. Starting at the high-school and college level can lead to a generational shift in people who are competent in CPR administration. Targeting employers and big businesses increases the likelihood that quality CPR will be administered in the event of an emergency either in the workplace, at home or in the community. A hands-only CPR class can take as little as 30 minutes, and yet give a person in need the chance to survive until medical help arrives.

Finally, the registered nurse’s role as a teacher and advocate are incredibly important in ensuring the success of such programs. There are a plethora of online resources and first aid education opportunities in the community and we have the unique ability in our interactions with patients every day to inform them about these available resources. CPR training events hosted by fire departments, ambulance companies and more are offered all around the nation free of cost. By being proactive and reaching out to people in administrative positions, we can make hands-only CPR training more accessible to large groups of people. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to reach out to the community, highlight upcoming first aid events, the importance of lay rescuers, and to provide a tool for people to locate pertinent resources. In times where convenience is of the utmost importance, social media, online resources such as AHA’s training videos, and classes included as a part of training in the workplace and in school programming can help increase the percentage or people capable and willing to be lay rescuers in the community.

The American Heart Association. (2013). Hands-only CPR. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/HandsOnlyCPR/Hands-Only-CPR_UCM_440559_SubHomePage.jsp
The American Heart Association. (2011). CPR statistics. Retrieved from http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/CPRAndECC/WhatisCPR/CPRFactsandStats/CPR-Statistics_UCM_307542_Article.jsp

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