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Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR): consideration in clinical care

In New Zealand, five people per day are treated by St John Ambulance Service for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest; 74% of those patients receive bystander CPR (St John New Zealand, 2018). Early high-quality CPR has been shown to save lives and improve outcomes for patients.

A recent study by a team including New Zealand physiotherapists Daniel Harvey and Daniel O’Brien highlighted the importance of CPR training for physiotherapists with one in five physiotherapists having been required to carry out resuscitation as part of their job.1

The question is therefore is CPR training mandatory or a nice to do/ should do?

At a broad level, as physiotherapists it is mandatory to include safety and risk management strategies into practice to ensure the safety of patients as stated in the Physiotherapy Standards Framework:

5. Physiotherapists practise in a safe, competent, and accountable manner.
Physiotherapists must:

  • 5.5 incorporate safety and risk management strategies within physiotherapy practice to ensure the safety of patient and staff.

As part of this risk assessment the requirement for CPR and first aid training should always be taken into consideration.

It is a mandatory requirement for those working under the Sports Physiotherapy Standard where it states:

‘physiotherapists must hold up-to-date competencies in basic life support and management of acute trauma situations’.

While CPR training is not mandatory for all physiotherapists it is strongly advised that if you are working in clinical areas consider CPR or basic life support training as a minimum.

Any courses completed to obtain a first aid or CPR qualification can also be counted towards your continued professional development hours.

Damon Newrick
Professional Advisor
Physiotherapy Board

1. Harvey, D., O’Brien, D., Moran, K., & Webber, J. (2019). Knowledge and perceptions of cardiopulmonary resuscitation amongst New Zealand physiotherapists. New Zealand Journal of Physiotherapy, 47(2), 94-105.