Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Comparing the effects of low and high fidelity simulation on learning in advanced cardiac life support classes
by Hoadley, Theresa Ann, Ph.D., University of Northern Colorado, 2008, 266; 3322450
Abstract (Summary)

To increase cardiopulmonary arrest survival, the American Heart Association (AHA) developed basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) courses. Theorist John Dewey believed experience and practice enhanced learning. When students were exposed to realistic learning situations, they retained more knowledge. With application of the Experiential Learning Theory to ACLS courses, the repetitive practice of skills/techniques could theoretically improve retention. This study researched differing instructional methods of ACLS courses, differing only by exposure to enhanced realism in resuscitation scenarios.

This experimental study compared results of two ACLS classes on measures of knowledge (content exam) and resuscitation skills (performance exam). The control group was comprised of 24 physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, respiratory therapists, and advanced healthcare providers; the experimental group consisted of 29 similar profession healthcare providers. Both groups completed a demographic survey, pretest, posttest, skills test and two National League of Nursing (NLN) instruments, the Simulation Design Scale and the Student Satisfaction and Self-Confidence in Learning Scale.

Whereas the experimental, high-fidelity simulation group scored higher on the posttest and skills checklist, differences were not statistically significant. Both groups indicated satisfaction with their form of simulation experience and course design (objectives, support, problem solving, guided reflection, and fidelity) on the NLN surveys. Additionally, students' self-confidence to care for a victim of cardiopulmonary arrest was increased after completing their course; profession and work experience had no effect on their responses. A larger difference existed in verbal responses to course satisfaction. The control group thanked the course director and instructors for the experience, but the experimental group adamantly recommended that ACLS should only be taught using high-fidelity simulation.

If saving lives is to be enhanced by improving knowledge acquisition, this study findings may prove efficacious. If the students find comfort in the learning situation and are allowed to practice until they are proficient, they may practice beyond the course, thereby enhancing short- and long-term retention of ACLS techniques.

Indexing (document details)
School: University of Northern Colorado
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-B 69/07, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Health education, Nursing
Keywords: American Heart Association courses, Cardiac life support, Learning, Resuscitation
Publication Number: 3322450
ISBN: 978-0-549-72189-5
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