A staff training program that conducts basic life support (BLS) drills in infusion and cancer clinic settings ensures that nursing staff are prepared to provide emergency care when necessary. This program was presented in a poster during the 46th Annual Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Congress.

Cancer care is increasingly shifting to the ambulatory setting, creating the need for nurses to be prepared to handle medical emergencies confidently and quickly. However, a staff needs assessment at the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center revealed gaps in readiness and comfort levels regarding emergency events.

The Life Support Champion (LSC) program was developed to address this need. LSCs serve as a support resource for the department’s nursing staff. They conduct BLS drills that create the muscle memory needed to respond confidently to medical emergencies in realistic settings such as the infusion treatment room or clinic.

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Additional tasks for the LSCs include review of basic life support information; providing opportunities for hands-on practice with defibrillators, compression, and respirations; and promoting teamwork and clear communication.

Since November 2019, the program has placed 57 LSCs in 5 locations within the Froedtert Cancer Network. The LSCs have conducted 61 drills, with evaluations from 163 participants reporting positive feedback, even requesting drills be conducted more frequently.

The goal is to have all staff within the Cancer Center Network attend 1 BLS drill per year, reported Sarah Gibart, BSN, RN, OCN. However, availability of training equipment was a barrier to this goal because these materials are shared throughout the facility. Therefore, 4 CPR manikins and 4 training AEDs were purchased as part of this program.

The LSC program has instilled confidence in nurses’ ability to perform high-quality compression and respirations that may improve patient outcomes during a cardiac arrest, concluded Ms Gibart.


Gibart S. Building oncology nurses confidence during emergency events. Oncol Nurs Forum. 2021;48(2):abstr 9231.