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Background. Cardiac arrest is among the major causes of sudden deaths globally. Although out-of-hospital cardiac arrest occurs more commonly, in-hospital cardiac arrest is still a major health problem. Critical care areas provide care to critically ill patients who are at risk of cardiac arrest. It is important that nurses are knowledgeable and competent in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) in order to optimise the patient’s chances of survival and quality of life after cardiac arrest.
Objective. To investigate specialist practice nurses’ knowledge of evidence-based guidelines for CPR.
Methods. A descriptive cross-sectional survey was utilised. We sampled all critical care registered nurses (N=96) currently working in the adult emergency departments and intensive care units at Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa. A selfadministered instrument, the ‘evaluation questionnaire on CPR knowledge for health personnel from emergency services’ was used. Data were analysed using descriptive and comparative statistics.
Results. The mean CPR knowledge score was 46%. A score of 84% was considered adequate for a pass, and no respondents achieved this score. The majority of the respondents (80.85%; n=76) were specialists in the field of intensive care nursing.
Conclusion. The CPR knowledge of specialist practice nurses was suboptimal for the care required in high-risk settings. Further training is indicated.