Recent studies have found that poor cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is commonly performed in resuscitation attempts, both by health professionals and lay people. One of the contributing factors to poor performance of CPR may be poor initial teaching. This study was conducted to investigate the quality of 14 CPR courses complying with New Zealand Qualifications Authority standards, which includes formal assessment of CPR. While courses taught by the large first aid training organisations in New Zealand had a student to manikin ratio of around 3:1, courses taught by smaller providers had a ratio of over 4:1. During the 4 h course, only 20 ± 2 min were spent demonstrating CPR, and 26 ± 4 min were spent with students practising CPR. The assessment of adult, child and infant CPR took on average less than 2.5 min in total. Importantly, in the majority of courses (71%), certification was granted when the CPR technique was performed incorrectly, with both compression depth and compression place being corrected only 57% of the time. Courses only discussed the importance of early defibrillation 57% of the time, and provided limited information on symptoms of acute coronary syndromes. In light of these observations it is suggested that the current style of teaching is unlikely to result in students being able to perform adequate CPR if required in the community. © 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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