Next up in the news is a story that has to do with how we keep our patients alive and not dead. In the case of sudden cardiac arrest in the field, that process starts with rapidly applied bystander CPR. But who steps forward to lead that bystander CPR when a person collapses in public? I found a great article over at Occupational Health and Safety site about this topic.

I Teach A Lot of CPR

Students Practicing CPR LifesavingYou know I teach a lot of CPR each year to a variety of groups. From church groups to preschool teachers, from nurses to EMS students, those classes all happen in hopes that someone will be nearby with CPR training when the time comes to render aid in a sudden cardiac arrest.

The one thing I always do is teach them to take command of the situation. I say that this is the same CPR class that doctors take. CPR is CPR, it’s no different so the student learns the same CPR as everyone else. Now sure, the healthcare provider course has a little more depth to it in the way of medical knowledge but that’s more about teaching the why of CPR, not the how. The how of CPR is all the same.

Leadership and Action Save Cardiac Arrest Patients

So what is it that makes that difference in the case of a sudden collapse? It’s the willingness to act and that is something we all need to instill in our CPR classes. I tell them to take command of the situation. Be the one in charge until someone with more training or experience steps forward to take over. Point to people and give them jobs to do. Line up new compressors so people don’t get too tired. Make sure someone is on the phone with 911 talking to the dispatcher.

All of that has to happen to ensure this patient has the best chance to survive and you do that by teaching action. So if you’re working in the community teaching CPR or talking to a group about EMS and what we do, tell them that action is what makes the difference. Take action, call 911, start CPR and get an AED if one’s available.

Prepare them for the real situation in training and you’re much more likely to help them save that cardiac arrest patient they encounter. Don’t just teach CPR, teach response, too!

Follow up on the links to this news item and all the other articles and resources in this week’s episode show notes – A Look at the New BLS for Prehospital Providers Course and Episode 409.


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