Should I keep my CPR up to date?
When answering this question, consider things like your practice setting, your patient’s needs, and your employer’s and co-workers’ expectations.
Dental assistants often ask whether they must keep their CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) up to date. The answer will depend on each dental assistant’s situation. Here is some information to guide you, and questions to think about.
Current CPR is mandatory if you are part of a sedation team (this includes the use of nitrous oxide, oral or intravenous sedation). The College of Dental Surgeons of Alberta (CDSA) sets standards for sedation in dentistry. Those standards indicate all sedation team members must have current resuscitation (basic life support/ BLS, also referred to as CPR) training.
CPR may also be mandatory in other settings, like hospitals, or may be something your employer requires.
- Do we use any form of sedation where I work?
- Do I work in a setting where CPR is mandatory?
- Does my employer require that I have current CPR?
Patients may assume that all regulated healthcare professionals can respond in an emergency. In patient-centred practice, dental assistants are guided by the patient’s needs. They place the patient’s well-being first.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What would my patients expect if they had a medical episode? Would they expect me to be able to help them in an emergency?
- How would my patients feel if I didn’t have current CPR?
- Which CPR skills might I need in an emergency?
- If I could make a difference for someone, why wouldn’t I keep my CPR up to date?
Employer and Coworker Expectations
In an emergency, responding quickly is important. Taking time to ask a coworker if they have CPR, or waiting for someone who has it to arrive could impact the outcome for the patient. Coworkers may expect that anyone on the dental team is able to help.
Questions to consider:
- Am I ready to help in an emergency?
- Does my employer expect me to be ready to help in an emergency?
- What would my coworkers expect if they had a medical episode? Would they expect me to be able to help them in an emergency?
- If I needed help, what would I expect from another regulated health professional?
Current CPR Training
There are lots of options for CPR training providers, CPR levels/skills, course length and how long CPR is valid for after training. The kind of CPR training a dental assistant takes and how often they refresh it will also depend on each dental assistant’s situation.
- Is the training provider reputable?
- Does my practice setting require a certain kind of CPR?
- In my practice setting, which CPR skills might I need in an emergency?
- How much time to do I need to learn the skills?
- Does my practice setting require that I take CPR annually?
- How often do I need to take CPR training to be able to use the skills confidently and competently?
After considering this information, you may have decided that keeping your CPR up to date is best practice in your situation. When you take CPR training, you can use it toward your Continuing Competence requirements. CPR/First Aid/AED can be used as a learning objective once every five years. However, you don’t need CPR to renew your practice permit.