Effective CPR Training and Workplace Integration Requires Executive Support

April 1, 2021
April 1, 2021

Many healthcare workforce-training programs, especially those that cover all employees, are often “one and done” affairs. That may be fine for learning how to submit time-off requests, but it’s not optimal when the subject is saving lives. That’s why CPR training is an essential part of any workplace. Although it seems to be an obvious component in a healthcare setting, it often isn’t as robust as it could be due to lack of leadership engagement, says Donna Haynes, a nurse and clinical educator who serves as HealthStream’s national resuscitation coach.

“What I’ve found is that in many organizations the person responsible for education has to get the buy-in from leadership to really provide more frequency of education,” Haynes explains. “That includes areas like resuscitation, having mock events, going over using the equipment, going over using the crash cart, and going through the crash cart. Those are the things that maintain the staff’s confidence that they could respond effectively to a code or emergent situation any time.”

The mindset to get away from, she says, is the trap of thinking, ‘Well, this is something I have to do to maintain my license or my certification,’ or that ‘this training is important, but will never be used.’ Haynes’ recent work with a large, non-acute system gave her many insights on how to get more effective administrative buy-in, as well as create a more concrete mindset around the importance of CPR training.

In the case of this healthcare organization, CPR and staff readiness was becoming more of a concern due to a swelling census of sicker patients. The need was immediate, but the path forward was less clear — until Haynes arrived.

Enthusiasm is good; sustainment is crucial

“The system embraced quality CPR several years ago, but didn’t have the sustainment due to turnover and difficulty with some of the manikins,” she says. “Some of those were similar to early models released for CPR training. There was lack of administrative support so they fell off for a while. Two years ago, I was asked to make them one of my main projects use a pilot program in one of their regions. At that time, the region only had four hospitals that were utilizing CPR training, and only three of those four were using the manikins. The other one was using an instructor to check off the skills. The other entities of this organization were bringing in third party instructors or sending staff out for training.”

Haynes was able to create a more effective, continual internal training program, and now all 16 facilities are fully engaged in high-quality CPR training. What’s more, the initiative is highly supported by the corporate education program, which means an easier rollout as she moves to other regions of the 126-facility company.

New systems and processes include:

  • Utilizing an online learning heart code or education program
  • Utilizing manikins to support the skills check-off
  • Support from highest levels of administration
  • Only this means of action for CPR training, so standardization is achieved

This approach works because everyone’s on the same page, and everyone’s using the same source material and testing measures to ensure compliance, completion and continuation, Haynes says.

“Communication and resource replacement are huge,” she says. “Those are the things I saw that were missing in the organization, and in many other organizations as well. Once we get those things corrected these providers will move along well with their staff being trained with quality CPR. Becoming part of the quality CPR training they receive now has really boosted their confidence to respond. They’ve got some incredible stories to tell now.”

About Donna:

Donna Haynes is a nurse and clinical educator who serves as HealthStream’s national resuscitation coach. Her results-oriented HeartCode programs meet the new American Hospital Association guidelines for Resuscitation Quality Improvement, making them a must for any organization committed to delivering quality patient care. Prior to joining HealthStream, Donna was a HeartCode user and administrator at Pullman Regional Hospital. Her healthcare career also has included roles as an emergency department, pediatric intensive care and medical surgical staff RN, Director of Clinical Education and Simulation and a Magnet Coordinator. She is a national award winner for her work in developing CPR competence.

This blog post is taken from a HealthStream Second Opinions Podcast that was recorded recently. To hear Donna’s full discussion, click here.