A Survey of Nurses' Basic Life Support Knowledge and Training at a Tertiary Hospital

Michelle Keenan, Gillian Lamacraft, Gina Joubert


Objective: Survival after cardiac arrest is related to time taken for resuscitation, and defibrillation, to commence. At many hospitals, the healthcare worker most likely to be present when a patient suffers a cardiac arrest is a nurse. This study was performed to assess BLS knowledge and training of nurses, and thus to determine whether further action is required to improve their BLS competency.

Method: The study was a cross-sectional survey. A questionnaire was distributed, on one day, to nurses in the wards, out-patient-departments and theatres. Completion of the form was voluntary and confidential. The forms were all returned that day.

Results: Questionnaires were completed by 338 of the 405 nursing personnel on duty that day (83.4% response rate). Administrators and student nurses were excluded as well as incomplete questionnaires , leaving a final sample size of 286 nurses.
A pass mark of 80% was achieved by 11% of responders.
Training in BLS had been available for 77.5% of nurses and of these 93.1% had attended a course, 60.9% within the last year.
Training in the use of a defibrillator had not been received by 32% of nurses and there was generally a poor understanding of the significance of defibrillation in resuscitation.

Conclusion: Despite a relatively good rate of attendance at recent BLS courses, over a fifth of nurses remain without any BLS training. In addition few nurses have retained the BLS knowledge required for competency. Action is needed to ensure all nurses receive BLS training and practice this skill regularly.

Authors' affiliations

Michelle Keenan,

Gillian Lamacraft,

Gina Joubert,

Full Text

PDF (407KB)

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2009;1(1):3.

Article History

Date submitted: 2009-05-18
Date published: 2009-11-13

Article Views

Abstract views: 11116
Full text views: 4595

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here