Rachel Scott wanted to learn CPR after realizing it could make a life-or-death difference. The Springfield teen took it another step further, once she learned “ how such a relatively simple act, could be easily taught and make such a huge difference.” She implemented a lifesaving CPR training program for students at Springfield Catholic High School, known as Teens Saving Lives (TSL). The program integrates CPR training into health class curriculum. As a result, every freshman can be certified and prepared to save a life in the event of an emergency.
Rachel worked with Mercy nurse educator Debbie Ream to create the curriculum and secured grant funding for TSL from Mercy Smith-Glynn-Callaway Medical Foundation and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks to underwrite program costs (CPR manikins, supplies, etc.). Mercy is a training center for American Heart Association, with over 450 instructors working in communities across the area.Teachers, coaches and some students are trained and certified as in-house CPR instructors. Rachel was one of those instructors and has helped teach her fellow students. Since the program’s inception, teens from the Student Council, National Honor Society, Medical Explorers and other school groups have further engaged the administration, school board, and community partners to ensure the program continues to grow and is sustainable for the long-term.
Rachel, who recently graduated from high school as one of only 141 Presidential Scholars nationwide, will attend Yale University this fall. While there, Rachel hopes to introduce the CPR program to the New Haven community.
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death nationwide. Emergency medical personnel respond to nearly 300,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the United States annually. Effective CPR circulates a small but vital amount of oxygen-rich blood to the heart and brain, which can help keep a victim alive until emergency responders arrive. Bystander CPR can double or triple survival from cardiac arrest, yet only about 30 percent of victims of out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrest receive any type of CPR.
Research has shown that when bystanders receive CPR training, they are much more likely to take action. Bystanders who phone 911 and begin CPR provide the first essential links in a strong, interdependent “chain of survival”. Students who are trained as rescuers in the school environment are ready to help save lives at home (where most sudden cardiac arrests occur), at school, and at public places such as malls, health clubs, or swimming pools.