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Inspired by Losing Father to Spread CPR Knowledge: HealthStream’s William Morris

Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of global mortality, accounting for more than 17 million deaths annually (Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, 2014). In addition, the prevalence of heart disease is increasing while the survival rates for sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) outside the hospital remain relatively low, ranging from just 2 to 11%. The survival rates for in-hospital SCA are only slightly better at 25%.

The Commitment to Improving CPR is Personal

Solving big problems in healthcare, like the low rate of success for resuscitation, is part of HealthStream’s DNA and a principle that we’ve enshrined in our corporate constitution. Promoting high quality CPR also embodies the HealthStream Vision, which is to improve the quality of healthcare by assessing and developing the people who deliver care. But this is more than just a business goal at HealthStream. Improving resuscitation becomes very personal when we consider that a close friend or family member may be affected by that low percentage of CPR success. Our goal is to improve resuscitation outcomes by helping many more healthcare professionals learn, adopt, and practice the latest science-based resuscitation guidelines.

HealthStream’s commitment to improving resuscitation rates is demonstrated across a wide swath of our workforce. When we surveyed our staff we were amazed at the impact CPR has had among them and their families. Here is an example:

William Morris, Resuscitation Coach

HealthStream Resuscitation Coach William Morris shares, “I lost my father to a heart attack when I was 18 years old, during my second semester of college. It happened in the middle of the night, and none of us were familiar with proper CPR techniques.” As the fatal event occurred, he remembers, “I was on the phone with the 911 operator, while my grandmother and mother attempted to save my father by giving CPR. We did everything we knew to do, but he ended up passing away. I felt very helpless. I was the only child, with just my mother and grandmother.” Morris emphasizes, “I’ll never forget that moment of not knowing” what to do to try to save him.

Morris’s father’s death was the catalyst for his choice to become a nurse. He offers that “It not only reinforced my decision to go into healthcare and become a nurse, but it also supported my intention to learn more about how resuscitation works, how to properly do it, and to never be in the situation again where I couldn’t help someone.”

Training people in the techniques that could have saved his father

The position at HealthStream unifies multiple interests that have driven Morris throughout his career. His work allows him “to be in the position where I could help train people in the techniques that could have saved my father. Being a CPR trainer is the perfect place for me.”

With a background as an operating room registered nurse and also in healthcare informatics, Morris, “loves teaching, and that’s what I do now at HealthStream. I instruct customers how to use our resuscitation products to train the people taking care of patients.” On a personal level, he adds, “My HealthStream training has given me the confidence to help someone in a situation who might need it. I’m not in a position where I lack the knowledge to help someone. I’m don’t have that helpless feeling anymore.” He relishes changing how his learners feel about CPR and celebrates “their attitude when they leave because they’re so much more confident.”

“My story… definitely correlates to the way that I train people now.”

To help us understand the deeper meaning he finds in his work, Morris relates, “My story and the way it impacted me at such a young age definitely correlates to the way that I train people now.” He thinks often of “when I was 18, lost my father, and was in the situation where I didn’t know how to do something.” Now, Morris admits, “I don’t tell them directly the story of my father passing away, but I express it through my commitment and the way that I train. I put people in a position where they’re not helpless, and have the knowledge that they may need” to save a life.

Watch as William and other HealthStream employees share their stories.

Learn more about our solutions for improving resuscitation.

References

Sudden Cardiac Arrest Foundation, “AHA Releases 2015 Heart and Stroke Statistics,” 12/30/2014, retrieved at http://www.sca-aware.org/sca-news/aha-releases-2015-heart-and-stroke-statistics.

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