Best CPR Scenarios

Updated February 21, 2017

CPR trainers for medical personnel and especially first responders routinely devise the best CPR scenarios they deem appropriate for teaching the tried-and-true techniques of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Occasionally instructors add bits and pieces to the setting they identify as being challenging to the participants of the class, urging them to think outside the box. At times these scenarios are a bit far fetched---usually when the instructor wants to focus on a particular angle of the CPR classroom training participants underwent---while at other times it is virtually a real-life simulation.


There are various types of CPR scenarios. The best scenarios call upon class participants to explore the limits of their expertise and comfort zone; from there participants may extrapolate in a controlled environment what the next logical, lifesaving steps may be. Advanced CPR scenarios that involve multiple disciplines most commonly find use in CPR recertification classes and refresher courses held for hospital personnel. For example the case presented may be that of a hospitalised pregnant woman who suffers an adverse reaction to a labour-inducing drug. A complete step-by-step guide of this scenario is offered by Continuing Scenario Based Anesthetic Resuscitation Training (Cosbart---a link is included in the resources section), together with the various specialities involved in this CPR scenario.


The CPR scenarios are offered in written form, but CPR course participants have actual CPR dummies and medical equipment on hand. Once the scenario is read, participants will spring into action. Frequently CPR instructors divide the participants into two groups---depending on the number of attendees---and permit the first group to act out the CPR scenarios while the second group is on hand for a peer evaluation afterward. Once this process is concluded, the roles are reversed; instructors usually choose a completely different scenario for the second group to ensure that proper learning takes place.


Training with the best CPR scenarios appropriate to the setting and the participants is a crucial aspect in readying a wide variety of responders for performing CPR. Parents learn how to give CPR to an infant strapped into a car seat while in traffic, athletic trainers understand how to help long-distance runners or gymnasts who suddenly collapse, and physical education teachers realise how to calm the fears of a class full of children, enlist their aid in alerting first responders, and perform CPR on the child in distress at the same time.


Attending CPR training classes is not always possible, but there are online CPR scenarios and simulations open to interested adults. These are not the best CPR scenarios simply for the fact that they lack the hands-on experience. The Less Stress Website (a link is provided in the resources section) provides scenarios featuring adults or infants, and the participant is always the bystander who happens to be on the scene. From this vantage point it is a realistic scenario for anyone.

Expert Insight

An article in the Plain Dealer (a link is provided in the resources section) revealed that the most common CPR Scenario encountered is mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. It warns that untrained bystanders refrain from offering CPR simply because they cannot envision touching another person's mouth with their own. CPR scenarios online, during actual training sessions and even in pamphlets help to reduce the self-imposed taboo and increase the likelihood of anyone jumping up to the rescue of another.

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About the Author

Based in the Los Angeles area, Sylvia Cochran is a seasoned freelance writer focusing on home and garden, travel and parenting articles. Her work has appeared in "Families Online Magazine" and assorted print and Internet publications.