Life-saving skills sessions hailed a success

Record numbers of staff and students have learned life-saving skills thanks to the success of a student-led campaign.

Some of the medical students helping train staff and students in life-saving skills during the campus event

Some of the medical students helping train staff and students in life-saving skills during the campus event. October 2019

Volunteers from the School of Medicine’s Clinical Skills Team staged a series of drop-in sessions on campus and in the city centre, as part of the global Restart A Heart Day initiative on Wednesday 16 October.

Events in the University Precinct and Albion Street provided training in life-saving skills, giving people the confidence to provide vital assistance in the event of a cardiac arrest medical emergency.

A total of 614 staff and students took up the offer of the free training on campus, smashing last year’s figure of 477. And the running total trained this academic year, including the city centre sessions and other events, such as National Health Careers Conference in September, stands at a hugely impressive 1,375. This is up from 1,086 in 2018.

Medical student and Restart A Heart student lead, James Nicholson, said: “This week, we have taught lifesaving skills to more than a thousand members of both our University and wider Leeds community, as part of the global Restart A Heart Day initiative.

“We have worked really hard to get across the key message that performing CPR and using an AED are simple skills that anyone can learn because we know that when someone suffers a cardiac arrest it is these bystander actions that can save a life.”

Laura Smith, Head of Clinical Skills Education in the School of Medicine, said: “The Restart A Heart Day 2019 initiative has been a great opportunity for our student volunteers from across the School of Medicine to get involved in teaching the general public potentially lifesaving skills whilst developing their own teaching and clinical skills.

“The project is a fantastic example of how students and staff working in partnership can deliver a project that has a positive impact not only for those directly involved but for the wider community.”

The city centre session also proved to be a big success. October 2019The city centre training session also proved to be a big success 

Vital skills

About 120 School of Medicine students volunteered to teach at the events.

The drop-in nature of the sessions allowed for anyone to pop in and learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) skills, as well as familiarising themselves with a public-access defibrillator (AED) … all in the space of just eight minutes.

A defibrillator is a device that gives a high-energy electric shock to the heart through the chest walls to someone who is in cardiac arrest. The quicker the patient can be given shocks in combination with CPR, the greater the chance of successful resuscitation.

Statistics show two thirds of the UK population doesn’t know how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). And for every minute a person suffering a cardiac arrest doesn't have chest compressions, their chance of survival reduces by 10%.

The drop-in sessions supported the initiative to install defibrillators across campus, with more than 30 of the life-saving machines now in place (click on the Facilities tab of the campus map to see where they are located). These are all registered with the Yorkshire Ambulance Service.

James added: “We are incredibly grateful to our partners from the University, Leeds University Union, Leeds City Council and the Resuscitation Council UK for supporting our events and, of course, we are indebted to our 120-strong team of student volunteers from the School of Medicine. Without their dedication and enthusiasm, the events would not have been possible. We look forward to sharing our message further at future events!”

National efforts

Our students also helped lead the Resuscitation Council UK's Restart A Heart Medical Student Network, which collectively taught more than 8,000 people to perform CPR and how to use an AED for the campaign. This was achieved with the support of more than 400 medical student volunteers from 15 institutions.

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