Joint research project breathes new life into nurse life support training

Nurse life support educators Tracy Zammit and Jen Dermer

Caboolture Hospital Nurse Educator Tracy Zammit and University of the Sunshine Coast Nursing Lecturer Jen Dermer are breathing new life into basic life support for clinical staff.

All nursing staff at hospitals throughout Queensland are required to do an annual basic life support (BLS) refresher course.

In 2019, University of the Sunshine Coast Nursing Lecturer Jen Dermer studied BLS training as part of her PhD, which included talking with nurses working on the floor at Caboolture, Redcliffe and The Prince Charles Hospitals. It included opinions and barriers when instigating and performing BLS, how they felt about current training and what they would like to see included.

Jen’s initial investigations found nurses would benefit from improved BLS training to help them meet the clinical demands of an increasingly busy hospital environment.

That initial study was followed by developing innovative education sessions to improve the confidence and competence of ward-based hospital nurses when performing basic life support. The development of these education sessions included the nurse’s feedback from the qualitative study.

“When I was starting my PhD at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2019, I approached Caboolture Hospital Nurse Educator Tracy Zammit to see if she would be keen to help me run two different studies on hospital nurses relating to basic life support,” Jen said.

“She was always very helpful with recruiting, advertising and championing the studies for me.”

The two studies, now concluded, found that an enhanced BLS course that combined evidence-based practice guidelines, nurse’s recommendations, and adult learning principles would deliver the best quality care for patients.

It also found that courses should run for an hour with a maximum of six people each.

The new and innovative approach to BLS was put to the Caboolture Hospital executive, who saw merit in the proposed new course and implemented it for all clinical staff.

The education curriculum is now taught at orientation for all new clinical staff and refreshers are offered each month for existing staff.  Metro North Health is investigating whether the new in-depth BLS course could be rolled out at all sites and possibly across Queensland.

“We listened to nurses and together developed a training program from that,” Jen said. “It’s purposeful training that helps clinicians to do their job.”

The pair presented findings at the Australian Nurse Educators Conference at the Gold Coast and the Australian Resuscitation Council Conference in Brisbane, both last year, receiving a positive response.

Having started her PhD four years ago, Jen is excited her journey is now in the final stages with her PhD just now awarded.

It’s shown that research can blossom when academia and industry team up,” Jen said.

“Tracy and I are now collaborating on follow-up on effects from that intervention. However, we are going to do the research on all health care disciplines, not just nursing.

“The work we were able to do together highlights the importance of inter-disciplinary research, bringing tertiary health care and university academics together to improve the health of the community.”

2024-07-11T16:07:33+10:0011 July 2024|
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