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CPR ceased as graduation requirement

WED. | 05-12-21 | NEWS

     While most graduation requirements have remained the same this year, a few have been changed, including the cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. This training is usually mandatory, but has been waived this year due to the pandemic. 

     “They’re demonstrating what CPR looks like and having people practice some hands-on compressions, but there’s definitely no checkoff and written portion of it,” Health Science teacher Angie Byrne said. “It’s just kind of exposure, like what does somebody who is unresponsive look like and how you would perform compressions in general.”

     Some feel that the exposure training could be added to health classes. No matter how it is incorporated, the exposure training will most likely resume next year. The training that is generally required in high school, however, is not the same as the CPR certification which includes more training and must be updated every two years.

     In addition to the initial certification, those who are planning to teach CPR must take an additional course. At 

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Photo by Murphy Fisher

Rose, there are several teachers who are American Heart Association instructors, specifically Health Science teachers Byrne, Kendall Beasley and Alice Hyatt as well as Career Development Coordinator Fran Green. In her Health Science II class, Byrne’s students get CPR certified according to course curriculum requirements.

     “The type of CPR I teach my students is healthcare provider CPR,” Byrne said. “We would check for the carotid pulse which is located in the neck, you would look for any signs of breathing, check for responsiveness and usually the patient is going to … have a dusky kind of appearance to them and then you would do CPR.” 

     It is recommended that 30 compressions are administered followed by two breaths. 

     “Do that cycle until someone shows up with an AED (automated external defibrillator) to give them some electricity and hopefully restore the electricity in their heart or you just keep going until somebody else with higher training arrives,” Byrne said.

     The background beats in the songs “Stayin' Alive” and “Another One Bites the Dust” can both be used to help make sure that compressions are being administered at the correct pace. For infants (under one year old) and children, the compressions are administered at the same pace, but not at the same depth. 

     “On an infant ... you can do CPR with two fingers straight down on the center of their chest or you can wrap your hands around them and use what’s called the thumb and circling technique and compress this chest with your thumbs,” Byrne said. “With a child, you could either use one hand or you could use a lot less pressure than you normally would with an adult just depending on how much pressure compresses their chest to the suggested two-inch volume appropriately.”

     Even if someone has little experience with CPR, health care professionals recommend that they attempt CPR rather than remaining inactive, despite the risks it may run.

      “Ribs heal, so you have a dead person or you have a living person with healed ribs,” Byrne said. “If you totally withhold therapy they will definitely die, [but] if you attempt therapy there’s a possibility that they’ll survive.”  

      In addition to CPR training, Byrne also feels that knowing how to use epinephrine auto-injectors (EpiPens) and Narcan pens are important skills to have. 

      “Know a little bit about what an EpiPen is and how to use that... it’s very very simple, the directions are written on it,” Byrne said. “Also, with the rate of narcotic overdose in our country right now, they are thinking about putting Narcan pens [out]... so if someone is overdosing, it would reverse the effects of that drug that they took and save their lives.” 

     Students who wish to get CPR certified or further first aid training can do so through the Health Sciences courses offered at Rose, or can pay to attend a certification class through the continuing education department at Pitt Community College.

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