Jenny Hemmer recently participated in basic life support training for health care providers who work at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Nebraska (BCBSNE). Hemmer, a nurse case manager, took the class because “as a nurse, I feel like I should always be certified (in basic life support), but you never know when you may need it.”

BCBSNE offers the course three times a year. Participants learn the professional rescuer’s role in medical emergencies, how to asses a victim’s condition, basic life support, including rescue breathing, cardiac emergencies and CPR airway obstruction, as well as how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).

According to the American Red Cross, an AED is used to help those experiencing a sudden cardiac arrest. The device can analyze the heart’s rhythm, and, if necessary, deliver an electrical shock to help the heart re-establish an effective rhythm. According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest die. AEDs can help increase the chance of survival.

Hemmer liked the refresher she got on how to use an AED. She has assisted in hospitals with patients who have had a cardiac arrest, “but it’s very different outside of a hospital,” she said. “AEDs are often on the walls in churches, malls and other buildings. Because of the training I received at BCBSNE, if I’m ever in a situation where an AED would be useful, I can use it to help the person.”

Hemmer added, “It’s always good to stay up to date on the American Heart Association’s guidelines for CPR for adults, children and infants and what to do for choking victims of all ages, too.” She really appreciates the hands-on activities she got to do during the class, especially using the CPR mannequin with a sensor that measures the accuracy of chest compressions. “Accuracy of chest compressions is really important when giving CPR, and the sensor tells us if we’re doing the compressions correctly,” Hemmer said.

The BCBSNE class provides a two-year certification from the National Safety Council. To find out how to have similar training at your organization, contact the National Safety Council, American Red Cross or American Heart Association.

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