Online Basic Life Support Courses Gain Efficiencies While Maintaining Quality Training Outcomes for Registered Professional Nurses in a Large Academic Medical Center

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Introduction: BLS certification, a requirement for nursing staff, can be achieved through various training methods. There are currently no published data comparing the AHA’s BLS for the Healthcare Provider Renewal course to the AHA’s online course options, BLS for the Healthcare Provider Online and HeartCode® BLS, among randomly assigned registered nurses in a large academic medical center.

Hypothesis: We assessed the hypothesis that BLS training could be completed using one of the AHA’s online options to maintain competence and learner satisfaction, while utilizing resources more effectively.

Methods: Post-test only, three-group, true experimental design using a computer generated random assignment of consenting participants into one of three groups: BLS for Healthcare Providers Renewal course, BLS for Healthcare Providers Online, and HeartCode® BLS.

Results: Participant confidence in their ability to perform BLS prior to and after the course increased from 82% to 98% with no significant differences across groups. The cognitive post-test was repeated once for 21.1% of Heartcode® BLS participants compared to 4.7% of BLS Online and 2.2 % for traditional training (p=0.002). There was no significant difference between groups for participants requiring skills remediation. Participants (80%) reported a preference for an online program (p<0.001). More participants in the online groups strongly agreed that their method was more effective than the traditional instructor-led program (p= 0.056). Total time for participants to prep and complete the courses was significant (p< 0.001) between groups. The traditional class took an average of 4.6 hours, BLS Online 2.4 hours, and Heartcode® BLS 2.2 hours. The most efficiencies and cost savings ($189,010.54 annually) could be gained by using Heartcode® BLS.

Conclusions: Online learning is an appropriate training method for RNs requiring BLS renewal. Online education improves consistency in training; decreases the time needed for nurses to complete a BLS renewal program; and provides flexibility, convenience, and increased access to BLS training programs. Both online methods delivered overall cost and time savings without a negative impact on learner satisfaction or learning outcomes.


Poster presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions in Dallas, Texas, on November 18, 2013.

Abstract published in Circulation 2013,Vol 128, Issue suppl_22, Abstract 10178.

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