Sometimes a dummy can be very helpful. 

Thanks to the generosity of the American Heart Association, Marshall Medical employees are able to resume earning required certifications in life support despite a pandemic.

Like most all classes, the coronavirus put a stop to the required recertification for those in the medical field who have to be retested every two years in basic, advanced and pediatric life support classes.  

Enter the AHA’s We Can Help program called CPR Training in the Age of Social Distancing, which provides everything needed for a person to complete a class individually. 

A rolling cart with a computer monitor ­— called a skills station — allows a student to watch videos and read instructional material. 

Once that portion is complete, the test requires hands-on chest compressions to start within ten seconds. 

To accomplish that, a mannequin or “manikin” is included in the package to make sure those compressions are done correctly. 

“It’s an awesome piece of equipment,” Lisa Bearden, director of education at Marshall Medical Center North, said. 

The AHA is supplying the exact same equipment at Marshall South for employees there who need to re-certify. 

“Partnering with Resuscitation Quality Improvement Program and AHA gives Marshall Medical Centers the opportunity to assist staff in maintaining their resuscitation and life support skills,” Tami Howard, director of education at Marshall Medical Center South, said. “It also allows the staff to set a time for individual training that will best accommodate their schedule.  I am excited for this innovative opportunity to keep our staff current with their AHA classes which were put on hold due to social distancing requirements.”

The 90-day program is being offered for free during the pandemic to make it possible for those testing to maintain social distancing. Normally it is a very expensive program, according to Bearden, who was approached by the AHA to purchase it a few years ago. She had to decline because the cost was “astronomical.” That’s why she’s so grateful for the AHA’s generosity now. 

“We stand ready to support your organization during this exceptional time with a complimentary rapid deployment program for maintaining credentials and life-saving CPR competence within current safety protocols for COVID-19,” the AHA materials state. “We feel privileged to have this opportunity to be of service.”

Each skills station has the ability to re-certify 80 students during the 90 days they will be lent to the hospitals. Bearden said they will be pushing to get them all done. 

“We have a backlog of folks needing recertification because we had to cancel all classes,” she said. 

Last year, Marshall North held 48 life support classes to train 169 employees and Marshall South held a total of 41 AHA classes and trained 266 staff members. 


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