Emergency Nurses’ experience of adult basic and advanced life support workstations as a support strategy for clinical practice in the Emergency Department

Dr Sharyn Ireland1,2, Mr Marc Marquez1, Ms Claire Hatherley1, Ms Nicole Farmer1,2, Ms Bella Luu1,2, Ms Charlotte Stevens1, Dr Eldho Paul3, Professor Biswadev Mitra1,3

1Alfred Hospital, Emergency & Trauma Centre, Melbourne, Australia, 2La Trobe University, School of Nursing & Midwifery, Melbourne, Australia, 3Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University , Melbourne, Australia

BACKGROUND: Basic Life Support (BLS) and/or Advanced Life Support (ALS) knowledge and skills are essential for health professionals working in Emergency Departments (EDs) and across healthcare facilities.

AIMS: To determine the proportion of Registered Nurses (RNs) in the ED who completed a competency assessment in Adult ALS within 6 months of attending a programme to rehearse essential skills for adult BLS and ALS in a safe learning environment; whether RNs who attended found the programme beneficial to increase their knowledge and skills in BLS and/or adult ALS; and whether RNs felt more confident to use the skills and knowledge clinically after attending the programme.

METHODS: Consented participants were invited to complete an on-line evaluation survey of their experience immediately after the programme and at 6-months following the programme.

RESULTS: A total of 143 RNs working in the ED consented to participate in this study. Post-programme surveys were received from 103 RNs; a response rate of 72%. Of these, 62 (60.2%; 95% CI: 50.5-69.1) RNs had completed their annual competency in ALS since completing the programme. The majority of RNs (97.1%) found the programme to be beneficial and 82 (80.4%) reported using the knowledge and skills gained from the programme in their clinical practice.

Immediately after conclusion of the programme, 128 participants returned surveys on their perception of the programme; a response rate of 89.5%. In general, the majority of nurses reported increased knowledge and skills (93.7%), opportunity to practice skills (91.9%) and increased confidence (91.9%) following workstation attendance.

CONCLUSION: Majority of participants successfully completed their annual ALS competency within 6 months of attendance of the workstations. Participants found this programme beneficial and attendance increased ED RN’s knowledge and skills in adult BLS and ALS. RNs report improved confidence to use their knowledge and skills since attending this programme.


Marc Marquez is an Associate Nurse Manager at The Alfred Hospital’s Emergency & Trauma Centre, with a background of ten years clinical experience. Marc graduated from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Nursing in 2008. He holds a Master of Nursing (Emergency Care) from La Trobe University and was awarded the 2018 Australasian Emergency Nurse of the Year by the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia (CENA). Marc has recently been involved in a publication entitled “The World Health Organization trauma checklist versus Trauma Team Time-out: A perspective”, which has been published with the Emergency Medicine Australasia in May 2019.  He also serves as a Nursing Officer for the Royal Australian Army Nursing Corps, and has been an active serving member of the Army Reserve for thirteen years. With a strong passion for the development of international healthcare standards, Marc is heavily involved with the Alfred Hospital’s international programs.

Dr Sharyn Ireland is currently a Clinical Nurse Educator at the Emergency and Trauma Centre, Alfred Health. In her role as senior adjunct lecturer for La Trobe University, Sharyn contributes to the education of Emergency Nurses studying at postgraduate level. For the past 20 years, Sharyn has developed and instructed on many programmes involving various levels of simulation. After completing the Harvard Simulation Instructors programme in Boston, United States of America, Sharyn developed an interdisciplinary fully immersive simulation programme to support health professionals locally progress to working in the Resuscitation area of the Emergency and Trauma Centre. In addition, she co-ordinates and co-facilitates a one-day fully immersive programme with a focus on Trauma, delivered multiple times annually.  Her doctorate research investigated hypothermia in trauma. Sharyn has won many awards for her publications in this area and is held in high esteem internationally as she supports researchers in this topic, both nationally and internationally. She is a peer reviewer for multiple journals and is a current instructor at the Centre of Health Innovation teaching 5th year medical students where she has worked for many years.  As part of her Master’s in Education (Monash University), Sharyn’s thesis explored registered nurses’ experience of their annual Advanced Life Support competency. Outside of her professional life, Sharyn enjoys celebrating the lives of her five adult children and particularly loves participating in and contributing to the achievements of her seven grandchildren, often spending time with them on school holidays whilst their parents work.  Sharyn is an avid traveler enjoying snorkeling where ever that may take her. Swimming with whale sharks on the West coast to Manta rays in Bali and recently meeting a moray eel in New Caledonia are just some of her memorable encounters.  Sharyn is looking forward to attending Wagner’s opera Tristan and Isolde in Bayreuth Germany later in 2019.  Sharyn was the recipient of the prestigious Philippa Moore publication prize awarded by the College of Emergency Nurses Australasia in 2011 and more recently in 2018.