Because One CPR Class is Not Enough – Part II

October 18, 2015

Looking beyond into student learning, preparedness, and assessment.

Shannon Dere
University of Arkansas
Julie Saldiva
Texas State University

Editor’s Note: This is the second of two parts.

In the first part of this series, we looked at the development and implementation of mock emergency drills. In Part II, we’ll look at the importance of debriefing and assessment.

Mock scenario drills are a great learning tool, so make sure you plan to make the drill as effective as possible. Ensure that your department’s EAP is fully followed in the drill and take time to debrief the student(s) involved in the drill. Debriefing should take place immediately following the drill where the evaluator(s) asks the student-employee(s) involved how they believe they did and what they could do to improve or what they have learned about themselves. This is very valuable as many student-employees will realize that they are not as prepared as they should be or are not as confident in their skills as they believed. Additionally, a debrief should be conducted with the student-employees in the program area in which the mock scenario drill was conducted. This allows all students to learn from the drill and refresh them on the specific scenario drilled. As the professional staff member, make sure you do not necessarily draw attention to the student(s) involved in the drill when debriefing as a group, especially if the student-employee had difficulty in completing the drill.

As stated previously, the drill is not meant to demean or discipline a student-employee, rather, it is a learning tool for them to become more comfortable and confident in their skills. If a student-employee does not perform to the expectation of the department, create procedures for follow up. This could be in the form of additional training (e.g. in-service, CPR/AED recertification, or another mock scenario drill). Additionally, use this time to have staff practice completing any forms that may be required of your department or discuss other protocols that may not have been followed, such as proper customer service or radio use.

If your campus recreation department is going to take the time to organize and execute mock scenario drills, or any other type of risk management piece, assessment should take place in order to determine their effectiveness and to show student learning. Each campus recreation department’s assessment piece will look differently and how they track and measure will vary greatly.

CAS, the Council for Assessment and Standards in Higher Education, is a great resource to help campus recreation professionals review current practices to the standards set forth by CAS as well as explore student learning outcomes. In order, “to comply with CAS standards, institutional programs…must identify relevant and desirable learning from [the] domains, assess…learning, and articulate how their programs…contribute [to learning]” (CAS, 2014, para. 4). Conducting this assessment may sound complicated, but it can actually be rather simple.

The first step in any assessment plan is to identify student learning and development outcomes. For mock scenario drills an example of a learning outcome could be, “The campus recreation department’s student-employees will display appropriate emergency response and CPR/first aid skills in emergency scenarios”. Once you generate your learning outcome you will want to create a measure, criteria, and deadline for completing your learning outcome. The measure will be how you appraise the learning outcome. Looking at mock scenario drills your measure would be drills observed and evaluated by campus recreation professional staff. Your criteria will relate to the individuals participating in the drill and how they compare to a set standard created by your department/risk management committee. For example, you may want student-employees to demonstrate a 70% score (or above average, partial met expectations, etc.) through your emergency scenario. Your timeframe will be a set goal when you want the assessment to be completed by. Typical programs will run a mock scenario drill monthly and align their assessment plan to either their fiscal year or reporting deadlines.

A major component to the assessment for mock scenario drills is the criteria piece. Your department/risk management committee will want to create a document that is universal for all mock scenario drills. At the University of Arkansas, we created a simple form that breaks down a drill into five components: 1) recognition and reaction, 2) activation and adherence to EAP, 3) effectiveness of rescue skills, 4) forms, and 5) customer service. There is a single sentence definition for each component and scoring is on a three-point Likert scale with one being partially met and three being fully met. There are comment sections for each component to explain the scoring as well. It is also important to note that a detailed description and list of the steps that are expected for student-employees to follow–based on CPR/AED and first aid standards and your own department’s EAP–is created before the mock drill to ensure more accurate scorings by the evaluator(s).

It is important to note that you want to keep your standards for each assessment realistic. By this we mean that if you expect all your staff to complete mock scenario drills near perfectly (say a score of 90% on the rubric), you may be surprised to find that staff only score, on average, say a 45%. This is not to say that you lower your standards, however, your standards need to be realistic. Once your campus recreation department has set measures in place to continually review and practice risk management and mock scenarios drills, scores will go up; this takes time.

There are many campus recreation programs that are conducting great mock scenario drills. Here is a list of a few departments that are currently running these types of drills. They have all agreed to help answer any questions you may have regarding how they run their drills or their assessment process.
Georgia Tech
Purdue University
Texas State University-San Marcos
University of Arkansas
University of New Hampshire
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Additionally, NIRSA is another great resource. At regional conferences and the annual conference there are typically round table sessions on risk management. This is a great time to reach out to peers to see what kinds of drills/assessment they are instituting. Additionally, the risk management community of practice (and other communities of practice) on the NIRSA website has discussions about these types of drills. Either browse through old conversations or start your own and reach out to other institutions. Lastly, the SportRisk newsletter ( is a good resource. Make sure you check out new editions as they are published and browse through previous articles to see what resources are available to your department.


American Red Cross (ARC). (n.d.a). ACFASP advisory CPR skill retention. Retrieved from

American Red Cross (ARC). (n.d.b). Welcome instructor trainers. Retrieved from

Broomfield, R. (2008). A quasi-experimental research to investigate the retention of basic
cardiopulmonary resuscitation skills and knowledge by qualified nurses following a course in professional development. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 23(5), 1016-1023.

Council for the Advancement of Standards (2009). CAS learning and development outcomes. In Council for the Advancement of Higher Education (Ed.), CAS professional standards for higher education (7th Ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Madden, C. (2006). Undergraduate nursing students’’ acquisition and retention of CPR
knowledge and skills. Nurse Education Today, 26, 218-227.

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