Retention of first aid and basic life support skills in undergraduate medical students

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de Ruijter, Pim A. ; Biersteker, Heleen A. ; Biert, Jan ; van Goor, Harry ; Tan, Edward C. (2014)
  • Publisher: Co-Action Publishing
  • Journal: Medical Education Online, volume 19 (issn: 1087-2981, eissn: 1087-2981)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3402/meo.v19.24841, pmc: PMC4224704
  • Subject: skills | Special aspects of education | education | Research Article | medical students | R5-920 | Basic Life Support; First Aid; Education; Medical Students; Retention; Skills | basic life support | Medicine (General) | first aid | retention | LC8-6691

Background: Undergraduate medical students follow a compulsory first aid (FA) and basic life support (BLS) course. Retention of BLS seems poor and only little information is provided on the retention of FA skills. This study aims at evaluating 1- and 2-year retention of FA and BLS training in undergraduate medical students.Methods: One hundred and twenty students were randomly selected from first year (n=349) medical students who successfully followed a compulsory FA and BLS course. From these 120 students, 94 (78%) and 69 (58%) participated in retention tests of FA and BLS skills after 1 and 2 years, respectively. The assessment consisted of two FA stations and one BLS station.Results: After 1 year, only 2% passed both FA and BLS stations and 68% failed both FA and BLS stations. After 2 years, 5% passed and 50% failed both FA and BLS stations. Despite the high failure rate at the stations, 90% adequately checked vital signs and started cardiopulmonary resuscitation appropriately.Conclusions: The long-term retention of FA and BLS skills after a compulsory course in the first year is poor. Adequate check of vital signs and commencing cardiopulmonary resuscitation retained longer.Keywords: basic life support; first aid; education; medical students; retention; skills(Published: 6 November 2014)Citation: Med Educ Online 2014, 19: 24841 - http://dx.doi.org/10.3402/meo.v19.24841
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