AIMS: The study examined the effects of brief monthly practice on nursing students' CPR psychomotor skill performance at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months compared to a control group with no practice, and of repeating the initial BLS course at 12 months.

METHODS: Nursing students (n=606) completed either HeartCode™ BLS or an instructor-led course and were then randomly assigned to an intervention group practice schedule, consisting of experimental (6min of monthly practice on a voice advisory manikin) or control (no practice) and test out month. Every 3 months, a subset of students was randomly selected from both groups for reassessment of their CPR psychomotor skills. Outcome measures were compression rate and depth, percent of compressions performed with adequate depth, percent performed with correct hand placement, ventilation rate and volume, and percent of ventilations with adequate volume.

RESULTS: At 3 months, there were no differences between the groups in mean ventilation volume (p=0.71), but with practice by 6 months students were able to ventilate with an adequate volume; this skill continued to improve with monthly practice. In the control group, the mean ventilation volumes were less than the recommended minimum throughout the 12 months. The control group had a significant loss of ability to compress with adequate depth between 9 and 12 months (p=0.004). By practicing only 6min a month, students maintained or improved their CPR skills over the 12-month period.

CONCLUSION: The findings confirmed the importance of practicing CPR psychomotor skills to retain them and also revealed that short monthly practices could improve skills over baseline.