Factors affecting ward nurses' basic life support experiences: An integrative literature review

Int J Nurs Pract. 2022 Dec 11;e13120. doi: 10.1111/ijn.13120. Online ahead of print.


Background: Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation in non-critical care hospital wards is a stressful event for the registered nurse; stress may negatively affect performance. Delays in initiating basic life support and following current basic life support algorithms have been reported globally.

Aim: The aim of this review was to investigate factors that can affect registered nurses' experiences of performing basic life support.

Methods: Using the five-step integrative literature review method from Whittemore and Knafl, this review searched articles published between January 2000 and June 2022 for qualitative and quantitative primary studies from the databases CINAHL Complete (EBSCO), Medline (Web of Science), Scopus and PubMed.

Results: Nine studies from eight countries met the inclusion criteria and were appraised here. Five themes relating to factors affecting the performance of basic life support were found during this review: staff interaction issues, confidence concerns, fear of harm and potential litigation, defibrillation concerns and basic life support training issues.

Conclusions: This review revealed several concerns experienced by registered nurses in performing basic life support and highlights a lack of research. Factors affecting nurses' experiences need to be understood. This will allow education to focus on consideration of human factors, or non-technical skills during basic life support training, as well as technical skills, to improve outcomes for patients experiencing an in-hospital cardiopulmonary arrest.

Keywords: CPR; basic life support; cardiopulmonary resuscitation; experiences; nurses.

Publication types

  • Review