“I’d love to use online BLS certification, but my boss told me it is our policy not to allow online certifications. What am I supposed to do?”
Reports of certain hospitals preventing the use of online BLS courses for recertification may be causing confusion regarding the validity of accredited, blended BLS courses. While busy nurses and other healthcare professionals are being encouraged to find more efficient ways to complete their daily tasks, they are being prevented, or in some cases even suspended, for finding affordable and time saving ways to update their BLS. Even though online courses are promoted by organizations such as the American Heart Association , these online courses are still forbidden by many hospital policies.
In the past, the only way to certify or renew BLS certification was to attend a 4 or 8 hour classroom course with an instructor. Problems with classroom BLS certification are that the time between certifications is long and there is low retention of skills resulting from too much information in one sitting.
The BLS skill retention problem was first addressed around late 2005 with the introduction of self-paced online BLS courses. Video-based courses allow students to learn at their own speed and schedule, and at a time that is convenient for them. Additionally, online BLS courses such as those provided by ProTrainings offer students weekly refresher emails to keep their rescue skills fresh throughout the year. Despite these advantages, some CPR instructors, practitioners, and health care administrators hold to the belief that the only accredited and acceptable certification is one that is provided in a classroom format. A popular reason for this stance is the belief that online training is inherently not as effective as classroom training .
As an illustration of this viewpoint, one nursing schools’s website responds to the question, “What type of CPR certification is needed for the School of Nursing, where can we get certified, and when do we have to obtain the certification?” And the answer — “The Basic Life Support for HealthCare Providers Course covering the adult, infant, child, and two man CPR (Hospital Level Provider-2 year) is required. All BSN students must complete CPR classes prior to enrollment. Documentation (copy of CPR card) must be presented at orientation. Classes may be taken through the American Heart Association or the Red Cross. Online courses do not meet this requirement and cannot be accepted.” (utmb)
This type of response doesn’t look good for online BLS certification acceptance. However, as technology develops and online BLS training and certification become more convenient and more time efficient, I wonder whether those hospitals with classroom-only policies will eventually need to allow online certification to stay competitive. If the rate of technology keeps moving as swiftly as it has, I believe the answer is a resounding, “Yes.”
In the meantime, ProTrainings continues to work with progressive organizations that see the value in self-paced e-learning for their staff. And I continue look forward to the day when hospitals decide to trust their hard working nurses and healthcare practitioners enough to allow them the freedom to choose whom they use for their training and certification.
1 “The American Heart Association’s BLS for Healthcare Providers Online Part 1 Course, Web-based and accessible 24 hours a day, provides a flexible alternative to classroom training. Through case-based scenarios, interactive activities and videos, this course teaches the concepts of both single-rescuer and team basic life support.”
2 Numerous studies have been conducted to measure the effectiveness of CPR taught through video-based and e-learning methods versus classroom methods. Several such studies include:
Todd KH, Braslow A, Brennan RT, Lowery DW, Cox RJ, Lipscomb LE, Kellermann AL: Randomized, controlled trial of video self-instruction versus traditional CPR training. Ann Emerg Med March 1998;31:364-369.
Todd KH, Heron SL, Thompson M, Dennis R, O’Connor J, Kellermann AL: Simple CPR: A randomized, controlled trial of video self-instructional cardiopulmonary resuscitation training in an African American church congregation. Ann Emerg Med December 1999;34:730-737.
Lynch B, Einspruch EL, Nichol G, Becker LB, Aufderheide TP, Idris A: Effectiveness of a 30-min CPR self-instruction program for lay responders: a controlled randomized study. Resuscitation. 2005 Oct;67(1):31-43.
Reder S, Cummings P, Quan L: Comparison of three instructional methods for teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of an automatic external defibrillator to high school students. Resuscitation. 2006 Jun;69(3):443-53. Epub 2006 May 5.