October 30, 2020
Thanks to Mike MacLean for today’s post. This post is the fifth in the series Our Mission Extends Beyond Us.
As of July of 2019, passing a cardiopulmonary resuscitation course is a graduation requirement for Arizona’s high school seniors. According to the American Heart Association, receiving CPR can double or even triple the chances of survival for victims of cardiac arrest. This is one reason why the International Commerce High Schools adopted a policy to teach its students CPR nearly two decades before the state mandate. As a result, our schools have certified thousands of young adults in these life-saving techniques.
The mission of the International Commerce High School is to prepare adult high school students (16 years of age to 21 years of age) academically for occupational education, postsecondary education, social responsibility, employability, and life-long learning. Without a doubt, teaching our students these life-saving skills aligns with this mission. It not only enhances their education and employability, it is a clear example of life-long learning, and it empowers them with the ability to act in the direst of times.
Currently, CPR training is the final component of the International Commerce High School’s orientation process. New students not already certified in CPR are enrolled in the American Heart Association’s HeartCode Basic Life Support (BLS) course. HeartCode BLS not only teaches students how to recognize life-threatening emergencies, but also instructs them in how to perform high-quality chest compressions, deliver appropriate ventilations, and properly use an automated external defibrillator (AED). To accomplish these goals, the course adopts a blending learning approach, combining e-learning with a hands-on skill session.
First, students complete the e-learning portion of the Basic Life Support course in a self-directed manner. This format has the added benefit of allowing students to complete the online training at their own pace, anywhere an internet connection is available. Originally designed for healthcare professionals, HeartCode BLS allows our young adult learners access to comprehensive instruction usually reserved for EMTs, paramedics, fire fighters, and in-facility hospital providers. The course consists of several online modules, which include video scenarios, knowledge checks, and life-like animations known as e-simulations.
The video scenarios and knowledge checks instruct students in how to perform high-quality CPR on adults, children, and infants, how to effectively use an AED, and how to provide effective ventilation using breathing barriers. Additionally, these components inform students about the American Heart Association’s chain of survival and the importance of teamwork during multi-rescuer CPR.
The e-simulations give students the opportunity to apply their knowledge and decision-making skills by assessing and treating victims of cardiac arrest in a real-time, virtual environment. In doing so, these simulations provide students with essential practice, enabling them to approach the hands-on training with confidence.
The culmination of the course’s e-learning program is a 25 question, multiple-choice test. The test covers important life-saving information taught throughout the course’s modules. A passing score for the test is 84%; however, students may attempt the test multiple times.
Once students pass the online portion, they reinforce their skill proficiency with an instructor-led, hands-on training session conducted at either campus of the International Commerce High School. Every instructor employed by the International Commerce High Schools has been trained and certified by the American Heart Association to teach students vital CPR skills applicable to adults, children, and infants. These skills include assessing a person’s responsiveness, breathing, and pulse, activating the emergency response system, and administering high-quality compressions and breaths.
Additionally, students learn to safely and effectively use an automated external defibrillator. They are trained and tested on how to appropriately turn on an AED, correctly attach its pads, clear the immediate area, and safely deliver a shock. Ultimately, the American Heart Association’s resuscitation and AED training helps students achieve a high level of competency and confidence through both individual and team skills practice and testing. What better way to ensure a person acts when faced with an emergency?
Upon completion of the HeartCode BLS course, students receive a course completion card form the American Heart Association valid for two years. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, every workplace should include one or more employees who are trained and certified in CPR. As such, BLS certification may prove attractive to businesses and can increase student employability. It is also recognized by Rio Salado Community College and the Maricopa Community College District, allowing the course to fulfill CPR requirements in nursing, fire science, and EMT programs.
According to the American Heart Association, roughly nine out of ten people who suffer cardiac arrests outside of a hospital die. Furthermore, when cardiac arrest does strike outside of a medical setting, there is about a 70 percent likelihood that it will occur in the home. This means victims of this silent killer will often be a loved one. However, when CPR is performed immediately, the chances of survival greatly increase. This alone may be strongest argument for continued CPR instruction in our schools.
To read previous posts in this series, visit hmu.edu/hmu-blog.
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