Delayed or inadequate cardiopulmonary resuscitation during cardiopulmonary arrest is associated with adverse resuscitation outcomes in pediatric patients. Therefore, a “First Five Minutes” program was developed to train all inpatient acute care nurses in resuscitation skills. The program focused on steps to take during the first 5 minutes.


To improve response of bedside personnel in the first few minutes of a cardiopulmonary emergency.


A simulation-based in situ educational program was developed that focused on the components of the American Heart Association’s “Get With the Guidelines” recommendations. The program was implemented in several phases to improve instruction and focus on necessary skills.


The program garnered positive feedback from participants and was deemed helpful in preparing nurses and other staff members to respond to a patient in cardiopulmonary arrest. Time to chest compressions improved after training, and postintervention responses to questions regarding future code performance indicated participant recognition of the priority of the interventions addressed, such as backboard use, timely initiation of chest compressions, and timely administration of medications. Preliminary data show staff improvements in mock code performance.


The First Five Minutes program has proved to be a successful educational initiative and is expected to be continued indefinitely, with additional phases incorporated as needed. A rigorous study on best teaching methods for the program is planned.

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