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An Exploratory Study of Factors Influencing Resuscitation Skills Retention and Performance Among Health Providers

Curran, Vernon PhD; Fleet, Lisa MA; Greene, Melanie MA

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions: April 2012 - Volume 32 - Issue 2 - p 126–133
doi: 10.1002/chp.21135
Original Research

Introduction: Resuscitation and life support skills training comprises a significant proportion of continuing education programming for health professionals. The purpose of this study was to explore the perceptions and attitudes of certified resuscitation providers toward the retention of resuscitation skills, regular skills updating, and methods for enhancing retention.

Methods: A mixed-methods, explanatory study design was undertaken utilizing focus groups and an online surveyquestionnaire of rural and urban health care providers.

Results: Rural providers reported less experience with real codes and lower abilities across a variety of resuscitation areas. Mock codes, practice with an instructor and a team, self-practice with a mannequin, and e-learning were popular methods for skills updating. Aspects of team performance that were felt to influence resuscitation performance included: discrepancies in skill levels, lack of communication, and team leaders not up to date on their skills. Confidence in resuscitation abilities was greatest after one had recently practiced or participated in an update or an effective debriefing session. Lowest confidence was reported when team members did not work well together, there was no clear leader of the resuscitation code, or if team members did not communicate.

Discussion: The study findings highlight the importance of access to update methods for improving providers' confidence and abilities, and the need for emphasis on teamwork training in resuscitation. An eclectic approach combining methods may be the best strategy for addressing the needs of health professionals across various clinical departments and geographic locales.

Disclosures: The authors report this study was funded through the Medical Research Foundation, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University.

Dr. Curran: Director of Academic Research and Development, Professor of Medical Education, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Ms. Fleet: Manager, Research Programs, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland; Ms. Greene: Doctoral Candidate, Faculty of Education, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Correspondence: Vernon Curran, Room 2901, Health Sciences Centre, Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University, St. John's, NL A1B 3V6, Canada; e-mail:

• Published online in Wiley Online Library (

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