CPR and AED Awareness Education in Middle Schools

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With the rise in pediatric cardiac arrest cases across the country in recent years, CPR awareness and early implementation training is an essential component for best outcomes.

Numerous efforts have been made across the U.S. to place automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in schools where first responders, including fellow students, can save precious minutes by executing basic life support (BLS) skills (CPR and AED) before emergency medical services arrive to provide advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) measures.

In May 2019, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock's Department of Nursing hosted a STEM Center Health Professions Conference for 8th graders from several local area middle schools. During this mini-conference, students participated in three breakout sessions of their choosing.

These sessions included CPR and simulation activities, which were used to discuss and demonstrate the need for BLS training to achieve the best outcomes in sudden cardiac arrest events. Attendees of the CPR session were provided a disposable keychain CPR mask/face shield to carry with them, and were encouraged to obtain BLS certification as soon as possible.

Additionally, two University of Arkansas at Little Rock first-year nursing students recently made headlines for their life-saving efforts in performing CPR to a man who collapsed at a local gym. They utilized their BLS skills and training to make a difference in their community, the life of the cardiac victim and his family.

This example is one of many in which CPR training and early response to cardiac arrest can prevent a death. By providing CPR with AED training and awareness to the youth, the goal is to ensure early interventions occur and to promote the best outcomes possible for those having a cardiac arrest in any environment or setting.

Several of the students, who have family members who are nurses or paramedics, said they plan to obtain CPR certification. Click here for printable handouts useful for teaching the middle school students about CPR.

This article was authored by Leigh A. Snead, RN, MSN; Elizabeth Riley, DNP, RNC-NIC, CNE; and Elizabeth Lee, PhD, APRN, ACNS-BC, CNE.