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District 218 nurses train nearly 700 freshmen in CPR

District 218 school nurses (left side) Janet Callahan Margaret Eber Peggy Gbur lead workshop CPR other life-saving techniques Shepard High

District 218 school nurses (left side) Janet Callahan, Margaret Eber and Peggy Gbur lead a workshop on CPR and other life-saving techniques at Shepard High School. They trained nearly 700 freshmen in various life-saving procedures. | Supplied Photo

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Updated: March 4, 2013 6:05AM



As nurses in Community High School District 218 set out this semester to train freshmen in life-saving techniques, they noted a trend.

During their weeklong workshops at Richards, Shepard and Eisenhower high schools, students confided that they had suffered choking incidents.

“It’s even more common than having to do CPR,” Shepard nurse Janet Callahan said. “Many of the students said they had been victims of choking themselves, so I think now they understand the importance of the training and have confidence assisting someone who is in distress.”

Over the course of three weeks, the nurses trained nearly 700 students in cardiopulmonary resuscitation, intervention with choking victims, use of automated external defibrillators, and other life-saving techniques.

“Statistically, 88 percent of cardiac arrests occur within the home,” Eisenhower nurse Maureen Featherstone said. “Unless CPR is given within minutes of collapse, few attempts of resuscitation are successful.

“Therefore, effective CPR can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Many students felt confident after completing the week lesson and felt confident with their skills.”

The nurses said students maintained their focus during training.

“They were cooperative, enthusiastic and engaged in the training,” Richards nurse Peggy Gbur said. “Their questions were well thought out.”

The nurses agreed that helping someone who’s choking or experiencing cardiac arrest can overwhelm anyone with fear or uncertainty. However, students felt pretty confident after training, the nurses said.

“They felt empowered,” Gbur said. “You could feel their excitement and energy. I feel it was very worthwhile and hope to continue to train our young students.”

When the nurses finished at each school, they performed an assessment to measure the effectiveness of the training.

“The evaluation day was such a positive experience,” Margaret Eber said. “We were able to work with small groups to assess what the students had learned. To see the students practicing what they had learned and realizing that they could respond in an actual emergency was pretty inspiring.”

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