New program helps health professionals improve CPR technique

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Practice makes perfect.

It's a sentiment that even holds true for health professionals.

CPR is a life saving skill performed when a person's heart stops beating, otherwise known as a cardiac arrest

"When the American Heart Association launched the Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program, Avera jumped on board with that as a leading edge in the Midwest here," Avera Nurse Consultant Vickie Schrenk said. "Starting that program, we started October 1, 2018."

Doctors and nurses take courses to become certified in CPR, but research shows their skills decline afterward.

"The American Heart Association came out with a bold statement that persons were losing or decaying their skills within 3 to 6 months after taking the traditional two-year certification courses," Schrenk said.

Just as one would practice learning an instrument, regular practice and assessment of CPR seems to improve technique.

With the RQI, resuscitative program, the employees now go to an advance stimulation station every 90 days, where they perform their skills in less than 10 minutes, and now they have become masteries of these CPR components," Schrenk said.

ICU nurse Jenn Cogley feels this program is helping her save lives.

"It gives you voice directed continuous feedback, which is really helpful so you don't have to be watching the monitor, you can be doing your compressions getting active feedback and improving your performance at the same time," Cogley said.

"The American Heart Association did a study, and approximately 200,000 adult cardiac arrests happen across the U.S hospitals each year, 26% of those adult patients survive," Schrenk said.

The American Heart Association hopes to save 50,000 more lives each year with this program.

"Now the participants are stating that they are more competent, they are showing confidence in their skills, and readiness in order to respond to a cardiac emergency," Schrenk said.

Providing hope for patients in a life threatening situation.