Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Resuscitation. 1991 Feb;21(1):67-87.

The problem of poor retention of cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills may lie with the instructor, not the learner or the curriculum.

Author information

  • 1Department of Surgery, Brown University, Miriam Hospital, Providence, RI 02906.


Many studies (several even before American Heart Association recommended in 1973 that lay public be trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR] have documented that retention of CPR skills is poor, unaffected by modifications in curriculum or whether the students are lay or professional. We chose to investigate what actually occurs during a CPR course, and gained the following insights: despite clearly defined curricula, we found that instructors did not teach in a standardized way. Practice time was limited and errors in performance were not corrected. Instructors consistently rated the students' overall performance as acceptable; at the same time, using the same checklist, we consistently rated performance as unacceptable. The checklist is an inaccurate tool for evaluating CPR performance. Despite the poor performance that we documented, students and instructors were satisfied with the courses and believed that the level of performance was high. As a result of these studies, we discovered that the problem of poor retention of CPR skills may lie not with the learner or the curriculum, but with the instructor. But, since lives are being saved with bystander CPR, does this documented poor retention matter? Perhaps the solution is not only to improve instructor training to make certain that students receive adequate practice time and accurate skill evaluation, but also to modify the criteria for correct performance when testing for retention. These criteria should be based on the minimum CPR skills that are required to sustain life for the critical 4-8 min before defibrillation and other advanced cardiac life support are delivered.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk