Medical and nursing students' attitudes toward cardiopulmonary resuscitation and current practice guidelines

Resuscitation. 2007 Feb;72(2):257-63. doi: 10.1016/j.resuscitation.2006.07.006. Epub 2006 Nov 28.


Purpose of the study: Every member of a healthcare organisation should be able to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation (CPR-D). The purpose of this cohort study was to examine medical and nursing student's beliefs and attitudes toward CPR-D and current practice guidelines.

Materials and methods: A pilot questionnaire concerning beliefs and attitudes toward CPR-D was distributed to 120 fourth year medical students. After statistical analyses (Cronbach's alpha), the questionnaire was modified to increase its reliability. The second version was distributed via e-mail to 100 final sixth year medical students and to 120 final fourth year nursing students. The students had 2 weeks to answer the questionnaire. A reminder was sent via e-mail after 1 week.

Results: The questionnaire was answered by 71 of 120 fourth year students (59.1%), 56 of 100 (56.0%) sixth year medical students and 76 of 120 (63.3%) nursing students. Seventy percent of the fourth year, 85.8% of the final (sixth) year medical students and 70.0% of the final (fourth) year nursing students felt confident about their ability to perform basic life support (p<0.01) and 24.0% of the fourth year, 84.0% of the final year medical students and 22.7% of the nursing students about defibrillation (p<0.001). The perceived ability to defibrillate correlated significantly with a positive attitude toward nurse-performed defibrillation (p<0.01) and negatively with fear of damaging the patient's heart by defibrillation (p<0.01). Negative attitude toward defibrillation correlated with perceived organisational attitudes toward practise guidelines (p<0.01).

Conclusions: Medical students' attitudes mature as hoped for, but the nursing students need encouragement. More information is needed to diminish anxiety concerning defibrillation. Negative beliefs and attitudes toward defibrillation affect the students' attitudes toward practice guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude*
  • Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Culture*
  • Electric Countershock*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Students, Medical / psychology*
  • Students, Nursing / psychology*