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Nova Scotia implements a better way to approach life support training

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RQI Station

By: Kirsten Millar


When a medical emergency happens, having the knowledge and skills to provide basic life support (BLS) can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why Nova Scotia Health is implementing a new form of training to ensure staff are equipped to deliver high-quality care when emergencies occur.

In partnership with the American Heart Association and Laerdal, a world leading provider of training, educational and therapy products for lifesaving and emergency medical care, Nova Scotia is the first in the country to implement the resuscitation quality improvement (RQI) program province wide.


Innovative approach to education & training 

RQI is a self-directed approach to practicing lifesaving skills, such as chest compressions. By providing live feedback, it provides users with the opportunity to readjust and make sure the techniques are being done correctly.

“RQI is an innovative approach to education and training for staff that require the skills of basic life and advanced life support,” said Jennifer MacDougall, Director, Interprofessional Practice and Learning. “It replaces the traditional approach to education and training, whereby staff are required to attend an instructor led in-person session.”

“The traditional approach to training for basic life support takes place on a yearly basis. Evidence shows that basic life support skills start to decay after three months. And we know that high quality CPR is what saves peoples’ lives. If we don't practice those skills for an entire year, we will not have the highest quality skills, and won’t be making the highest impact on patient lives.”

Implementation began in April 2022 with a focus on clinical staff. The goal is to continue enrollment so that all staff who require BLS for their job will have access to RQI. The health care workers enrolled receive an email every three months instructing them to book a session with the on-site RQI station to practice and strengthen their life-saving skills.

Some staff have also volunteered to be ‘super users.’ This means they receive training to guide other staff with RQI and help troubleshoot any issues.

“Initial engagement of staff was encouraged and supported by super users, but staff quickly took it upon themselves to complete the quarterly assignments and seek out the station for skills. Staff feedback has been positive,” said Glenda Howie, Clinical Nurse Educator in Critical Care, Cape Breton Regional Hospital under Interprofessional Practice and Learning.

Before RQI, staff had to find a course and take time off from work or spend their days off attending this course.

“Being able to do basic lifesaving training on-site is better for the work-life balance of our valued staff at Nova Scotia Health,” said Shelley Orr, Professional Practice Leader, Interprofessional Practice and Learning. “I hope that Nova Scotia Health can start the wave for other provinces to implement RQI.”