How to Fit CPR into Your Health Science Foundations Class

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a cornerstone of health science education.

In career and technical education (CTE), every student needs to learn CPR, regardless of the career they want to pursue.

That way, they’ll know how to save someone’s life in a worst-case scenario.

Whether someone is a medical assistant or a registered nurse, every health science student needs to be prepared in the event a patient needs resuscitation.

So how do you teach that? And how do you make sure students have the essential information they need when CPR is misrepresented so often in media?

These are the four steps to teach CPR in your health science foundations class:

  1. Get certified to teach CPR
  2. Check your state's health science education standards
  3. Choose your curriculum style
  4. Integrate CPR into your syllabus


This is how you can make sure your students get what they need to succeed.

But before we get into how to teach CPR, we'll talk about why it's important!

Why Add CPR to Health Science Foundations?

CPR is one of the best-known medical procedures in the world.

There also happens to be a lot of misinformation about it in popular culture because of how it’s represented in media.

That’s why it’s so important for tomorrow’s health care professionals to understand CPR, what it entails, how to perform it, and — most importantly — when to perform it.

With that in mind, there’s no better time to introduce CPR to your students than in an introductory health science class.

That gives them a good grasp of CPR in principle, and you can even go the extra mile to get your students certified, depending on your credentials.

In fact, whether you want to introduce students to CPR or go the full nine yards with them to certification, you should start by getting certified yourself.

1. Get Certified to Teach CPR


The first step to teaching CPR is earning your certification to teach it.

The American Red Cross offers CPR certifications that are accepted in most areas. There’s a good chance that they offer classes near you – you just have to find them! 

The classes cost about $100, depending on where you take them. Then, you go through the class like any other formal education setting and get tested for proper CPR technique.

After that, you can take the American Red Cross CPR instructor classes, which certify you to teach CPR to others.

With these two certifications, you’re ready to incorporate an in-depth CPR unit in your health science foundations class.

You’ll be monitored the first time you teach CPR just to make sure everything goes according to plan. But after that observation, you’re on your own!

That means you can take what you’ve learned and integrate it into your existing health science curriculum.

2. Check Your State’s Health Science Education Standards


Most states have standards on what you have to teach in different health science courses. 

That means you’re obligated to include certain information in your class, depending on what your state deems necessary.

Your school may also have requirements for information to include in a class.

Combining all of these requirements together can give you a full curriculum, in some cases.

In others, you’ll still have a lot of wiggle room to add lessons that you want to include.

With that in mind, CPR could already be a requirement for your state or school, especially if you’re teaching classes for emergency medical responders, emergency medical technicians, or shock.

On the other hand, CPR may only be recommended for your syllabus.

Regardless of your state’s regulations, it’s important that you fit CPR into your class one way or another.

This lets you really put your CPR certification to the test, empowering you to take an entire class of students and turn them into lifesavers within a matter of weeks.

Best of all, you’ll know that they’re getting essential information with your background in the American Red Cross certification process and the full knowledge of your state’s health science regulations.

Now, you have to decide how you’ll lay out your class curriculum.

3. Choose Your Curriculum Style


There are two common types of curriculum today — traditional and digital.

Traditional curriculum means doing most of your work manually. You craft your own lesson plans based on a textbook, lay out the syllabus, and grade everything piece by piece.

Digital curriculum allows you to set up your classroom to work with modern tools, especially computers. This lets you use pre-made resources, customized lessons, automatic grading, and student tracking all at the same time.

So why doesn’t everyone use a digital curriculum?

The biggest reason is cost. A digital curriculum isn’t expensive, but it’s still an extra cost that teachers may not be able to work into their classroom budgets.

Fortunately, you can get funding for a digital curriculum by speaking to your administration. In fact, one teacher in the AES community has discussed how she got funding for a digital curriculum so other teachers can get it too.

The benefits of a digital curriculum far outweigh the costs in almost every scenario, including remediation and enrichment.

Self-pacing, blended learning, flipped classrooms — digital curriculum opens the doors to all of these strategies and more.

Still, it’s not for everyone.

Whether you choose a traditional or digital curriculum, your next step is to integrate your CPR experience with the class that you’ve created. 

4. Integrate CPR into Your Health Science Foundations Syllabus


With your curriculum set up and ready to go, it’s time to organize everything into a syllabus.

This is a comprehensive list that walks your students through every day of the class, step-by-step.

It’s completely up to you to decide the format of your syllabus. In fact, your syllabus could wildly vary from another CPR instructor depending on the learning strategy you use.

You could take a blended learning approach or opt for a more dynamic style like differentiated learning.

You could even find different ways to incorporate your classroom management strategy to reflect the material you want to teach at different points.

Many teachers find it’s easier to create a syllabus when using a digital curriculum. After all, everything you want to teach is right on your computer screen — you just have to figure out when to teach it!

That’s key for determining where to place your CPR unit as well.

If you teach a fundamentals class, CPR may work best toward the end of your syllabus.

If you teach EMT classes, you may want to cover (or recap) CPR from the get-go so you know your students have a good grasp of the basics. 

Once you have your CPR unit placed in your syllabus, you’re set to start your class!

Start Teaching CPR with HealthCenter21

HealthCenter21 is a leading digital curriculum with pre-made lessons, activities, and assessments for foundational health science education — including CPR!  

You can assign homework, tests, and other work from the comfort of your computer. Then, you get all the grades and responses back in real-time!

With that in mind, it’s no wonder so many health science teachers have switched to using HealthCenter21 as the backbone of their classroom.

Want to learn more?

You can read our teachers’ personal accounts of how they used HealthCenter21.

Check out our HealthCenter21 testimonials for yourself!

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