Structured training in assessment increases confidence amongst basic life support instructors

Christopher J. Thorne, Christopher Jones, Nicholas J. Coffin, Jonathan Hulme, Andrew Owen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
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Aim Assessment skills are often neglected in resuscitation training and it has been shown that the ERC BLS/AED instructor course may be insufficient to prepare candidates for an assessment role. We have introduced an Assessment Training Programme (ATP) to improve assessors’ decision making. In this article we present our ATP and an observational study of candidates’ confidence levels upon completing both an ERC BLS/AED instructor course and our ATP. Methods Forty-seven candidates undertook the ERC instructor course and 20 qualified ERC BLS/AED instructors undertook the ATP. Pre- and post-course questionnaires were completed. Confidence was assessed on ten-point Visual Analogue Scales (VAS). Results Overall confidence on the ERC BLS/AED instructor course rose from 5.9 (SD 1.8) to 8.7 (SD 1.4) (P < 0.001). A more modest improvement was witnessed on the ATP, rising from 8.2 (SD 1.4) to 9.6 (SD 0.5) (P < 0.001). Upon completion of their respective courses, assessors (mean 9.6, SD 0.5) were significantly more confident at assessing than instructors (mean 8.7, SD 0.5) (P < 0.001). Confidence in assessing individual algorithm components was similar on both courses. On the post-course questionnaire those on the ATP remained significantly more confident at assessing borderline candidates compared to instructors (P < 0.001), with no difference for clear pass (P = 0.067) or clear fail (P = 0.060) candidates. Conclusion The ATP raises the confidence of assessing BLS/AED candidates to a level above that of the ERC instructor course alone. We advocate that resuscitation organisations consider integrating an ATP into their existing training structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-62
Early online date5 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2015


  • Basic life support (BLS)
  • Adult
  • assessment
  • Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)
  • 2010 European Resuscitation Council (ERC) guidelines


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