An evaluation of the Public Access Defibrillation (PAD) Demonstration

6.3 Training of personnel in the use of the AED

Page last updated: August 2008

The effective implementation of the AED requires that sufficient staff to be trained to permit appropriate coverage (for leave etc) and response times. These staff are expected to have a good level of knowledge in the operation of the AED, to feel confident to use the AED and to receive on-going training as appropriate.

6.3.1 Level of staff training
6.3.2 Staff involvement in, and confidence gained by, training
6.3.3 Perceptions of training
6.3.4 Opinion of and skills gained by training

6.3.1 Level of staff training

Managers were asked about the number of staff trained in the use of the AED. This included staff who were initially trained and those who received training after the initial session. On average, 17 staff members in each organisation were trained by St John at the time of installation (Figure 5).

After the initial training session, 36% of managers indicated that additional staff had received training. This may have included new staff and those that may not have been available for the initial training session. The proportion of organisations that had additional staff trained was related to the length of time that they had the AED:
  • 18% of organisations that had the AED for up to 5 months had additional staff trained
  • 32% of organisations who had the AED for between 6 to 12 months and
  • 48% of organisations that had the AED for at least one year had additional staff trained.
At the time of interview, on average 20 staff members in each organisation were trained to use the AED.

Figure 5: Total staff trained to use AED

Q16. How many staff members, including yourself, were initially trained to use Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)?
Q17. How many additional staff members have received training to use Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs)?

Figure 5: Total staff trained to use AED
Top of page

6.3.2 Staff involvement in, and confidence gained by, training

Trained staff were asked when they received their initial training and if they had received any on-going training. Four in five (83%) of the trained staff indicated that they were trained by St John when the AED was first installed on-site and one in five (17%) staff attended training after the AED was installed on-site (Figure 6).

Overall, one in four (27%) of the trained staff had received on-going training since their first training session.

Figure 6: Staff involvement in training

Q60. Were you involved in the initial training session from St John (when the Automated External Defibrillator was implemented on-site) or was your training conducted after the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) was installed on-site?
Q61. Have you received any on-going training with the St John since your first training session?

Figure 6: Staff involvement in training

Sustainability of staff training

The need for additional training of new staff and the on-going training of those initially trained is time dependent. Only 44% of organisations had the AED installed for more than one year, therefore, it is reasonable to expect a lower proportion of organisations that had arranged for additional staff training or on-going staff training.

One in three (36%) organisations had provided training to staff after the initial training session when the AED was installed in the organisation. This may have been provided to new staff or those unavailable for the initial training session.

In terms of on-going training, one in four (27%) of the trained staff indicated that they had received on-going training with St John since their first training session. This was higher in organisations in which the AED had been installed for at least a year (34%). While the majority of staff agreed that 'My knowledge is kept up-to-date with internal training as required' (68% strongly agreed or agreed), one in five (19%) disagreed with this statement.

One in three organisations had provided additional staff training after the initial session and one in three staff had participated in on-going training in organisations that had an AED for at least one year. There is an indication that on-going training needs may require monitoring. Top of page

6.3.3 Perceptions of training

Eight in ten (80%) indicated their role was very important and a further one in six (17%) viewed it as important (Figure 7). Only two staff (3%) thought their role as the 'first responder' was neither important nor unimportant. Staff trained to use the AED placed great importance on their role as a 'first responder'.

The importance of the role as a 'first responder' is also reflected in the level of agreement by staff to the statements: 'I am pleased to be a responder for the AED' (97% of staff, strongly agreed or agreed); and 'Management support my role as a 'first responder' ' (96% staff).

Few staff thought that the additional workload was excessive as more than four in five staff (85%) disagreed with the statement 'I had to take on additional work over and above what was expected'. Only 10% of the staff agreed with this statement.

Almost without exception, staff considered their role as a first responder as important. They were pleased to be involved and felt supported by management.

Staff were asked to rate how confident they were to administer the AED on a sudden cardiac arrest patient and to reflect on how confident they would have been to do so without the training received by St John training.

Training increased the level of confidence by staff to use the AED (Figure 8). Without training only two in ten (20%) staff felt confident (very confident or confident) that they would be able to administer the AED on a sudden cardiac arrest casualty. After receiving training from St John, 92% felt confident (very confident or confident) in their own ability to activate the device.

The reason given by the one respondent who was not confident to administer the AED after training was:
I guess it is due to the lack of ongoing training, lack of doing it day to day – it's very important, it's lifesaving, and there is a discrepancy between how often you train for it and how important it is. I haven't had to use it at all, so I feel like I have been trained to do something that might happen once every 5 years and I won’t be familiar.
The training provided by St John for staff instilled confidence in first responders. Without training this confidence to use the AED was negligible.

Top of page

Figure 7: Importance of the role of 'first responder'

Q59. How important do you see your role as a 'First Responder', that is, as a person trained in your organisation to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)? READ OUT

Figure 7: Importance of the role of 'first responder'
Top of page

Figure 8: Confidence in using AED if attended/not attended training

Q67. If you had not attended the training course, how confident do you think you would be to administer the AED on a sudden cardiac arrest casualty? Would you say…? READ OUT
Q65. After attending the training course, how confident are you to administer the AED on a sudden cardiac arrest casualty? Would you say…? READ OUT

Figure 8: Confidence in using AED if attended/not attended training
Top of page

6.3.4 Opinion of and skills gained by training

Managers found the training was easy to understand. This translated into confidence to operate the AED in an emergency in the vast majority of cases:
  • Nine in ten managers (89%) agreed that the 'Training is easy to understand' (the remainder did not know or found was irrelevant to their circumstance)
  • Almost all managers and staff thought that the 'AED is easy to use' (92% of the managers and 100% of the staff) and
  • At least nine in ten agreed that 'I would not hesitate to use the AED' (91% of the managers (3 managers disagreed) and 97% of the staff).
Trained staff were specifically asked about the effectiveness of the training carried out by St John and how familiar they were with first-aid procedures as a consequence of the training. All staff agreed that (Figure 9):
  • 'The content of the training course was easy to follow' (56% strongly agreed and 44% agreed)
  • 'The training material was clear and concise' (54% strongly agreed and 46% agreed) and
  • 'The length of training course was about right for what I needed to learn' (49% strongly agreed and 47% agreed).
Almost all staff were familiar with the first-aid procedures (37% very familiar and 61% familiar). Only one staff was neither familiar nor unfamiliar with first-aid procedures (Figure 10).

Trained staff were asked what they learnt from the training conducted by St John. Without prompting most staff mentioned that they leant how to use the AED (97%) (Figure 11). However, the training provided more than just the use of the AED, with staff learning additional life safing skills such as basic life support techniques (27%), how to administer oxygen to a patient (19% and how to assess a casualty to determine if the use of the AED was warranted (15%).

Less frequent aspects of training included mentioned (other – 14%) included different AED models; how the AED works on the heart and how to maintain it; how to make sure they're not on a wet surface; where to place the pads and to be aware of jewellery and other obstructions; the steps to follow use of the AED; and the benefits of an early response).

Staff considered that the training carried out by St John was easy to follow and the material provided was clear and concise. This increased familiarity with first-aid procedures and most trained staff would not hesitate to use the AED if required.

Top of page

Figure 9: Ratings of St John's training programme

Q63. Now in relation to the training carried out by St John. To what extent do you agree, disagree or neither agree nor disagree that <READ OUT STATEMENT>. Is that strongly or just (agree/disagree)?

Figure 9: Ratings of St John's training programme

Top of page

Figure 10: Familiarity of first-aid procedures

Q64. As a result of the training you received, how familiar are you with the first-aid procedures? Would you say…?

Figure 10: Familiarity of first-aid procedures

Top of page

Figure 11: Skills gained from St John's training

Q62. What did you learn from the training conducted by St John?

Figure 11: Skills gained from St John's training