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CPR Classes | Middle school students can learn CPR in a single PE class

Updated: May 31, 2023

Teaching Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation
Teaching Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation

Learning CPR is an essential skill that can help save a life during a medical emergency. The American Heart Association recommends that all individuals learn CPR, but the reality is that many people lack the knowledge and skills necessary to perform this life-saving technique. One innovative approach to address this problem is to teach CPR to middle school students, and a recent study suggests that this could be an effective way to improve CPR knowledge and skills.

The study, which was presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in 2015, evaluated the impact of a one-time, 45-minute basic life support class on middle school students’ CPR knowledge and skills. The class was given to 41 eighth-grade students during a physical education class, and the instructors taught students about chest compressions and automated external defibrillators (AED) use.

To assess the effectiveness of the class, researchers tested students’ CPR knowledge and retention before and after the initial session, as well as two and four months later. They also studied the effect of repeat education by giving half the students a repeat course two months later, but no such course for the others.

The results of the study showed a notable improvement in CPR skills and knowledge when comparing students’ knowledge before and after the session. Moreover, the students retained the information at two and four months after the initial session. While researchers did not note a difference in knowledge between students who took the repeat course and those who didn’t, they did report AED usage was better in the repeat education group.

The study’s authors suggested that schools could invest one 45- to 60-minute period a year for each school year to teach CPR and AED knowledge, which would ensure widespread knowledge with minimal cost and loss of school time. They also noted that teaching CPR to young people could lead to a generation of individuals who are better equipped to respond to medical emergencies.

Learning CPR is an important skill that can help save lives, and teaching it to middle school students is a great way to ensure that future generations are prepared to respond to medical emergencies. While more research is needed to fully evaluate the impact of this approach, the results of this study suggest that a single, 45-minute educational session can greatly improve CPR knowledge and skills among middle school students.

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