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Red Cross Launches Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS)

Flexible Curriculum, Abbreviated Versions and Modularity Allow Customization Based on Specific Training Needs


The American Red Cross today announced the launch of Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers (BLS) to meet certification and licensing requirements for healthcare and public safety professionals.

The new BLS course offers modularity and flexibility that is unique to the Red Cross, allowing medical directors, educators and Red Cross training partners the ability to tailor the course to their specific training needs with the ability to select certain scenarios based on a training focus or identified need for improvement. Additionally, Review Course and Challenge options allow organizations to offer abbreviated versions of BLS for seasoned learners.

The Red Cross BLS curriculum includes all standard scientific learning objectives necessary in professional resuscitation courses with an increased emphasis on critical thinking, teamwork and reflection/debriefing to strengthen the overall learning experience. The course is available in instructor-led and blended learning options, and the care steps are consistent with the 2010 International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) Consensus on Science and Treatment Recommendations (CoSTR) and the 2010 American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and ECC.

In addition to being modular and flexible, Red Cross BLS offers the following performance objectives and design elements:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving: This course uses real-life scenarios that allow students to hone their critical thinking and problem solving skills, such as forming a clinical impression and treatment plan, anticipating problems, and reacting to changes in patient condition.
  • Team Dynamics: The course includes team response situations where students practice operating effectively within teams and improving communication skills with team members, bystanders and other medical personnel. This section also covers areas such as integration with advanced healthcare providers, high-quality CPR and crew resource management.
  • Scientific Learning Objectives: Students will learn how to recognize life-threatening emergencies; perform a scene size-up, initial impression and primary assessment; ventilations (using a pocket mask and bag valve mask); provide CPR (1-rescuer and 2-rescuer); use an AED; and relieve an obstructed airway.
  • Reflection and Debriefing: Each response scenario allows individual and group reflection to discuss students’ ability to think critically and function as a team. This design element is becoming the standard in healthcare learning and development.

“Healthcare professionals and public safety officers identified critical thinking, problem solving and team dynamics as critical to optimal performance on their jobs,” said Jonathan Epstein, MEMS, NREMT-P Senior Director of Science and Content Development at the Red Cross. “These skills mirror our experience in working alongside EMS and public safety officials for more than 125 years and are critical to improving patient outcomes.”

The instructor-led BLS program release is comprised of three course options to suit organization and learner needs:

  • A 4.5 hour instructor-led course for new learners or experienced learners looking for remediation
  • A 2.5 hour review course for learners who already possess a current healthcare provider-level CPR/AED certification
  • A Challenge component for learners who wish to receive certification without attending a full course. In this variation, Challenge participants prepare on their own before completing the required written exam and skills assessment in front of a certified instructor. Seat time will vary depending on the time necessary for the student to complete the evaluations in this expedited course option.

A blended online and in-person course for BLS will be launched concurrent to BLS classroom for individual learners who enroll for a local course via or 1-800-RED-CROSS.This blended option includes online simulation learning, a virtual experience with missions/scenarios that put learners in the position to act across a variety of learning objectives and healthcare settings.

An online Instructor Bridge is available for current professional-level CPR/AED instructors who hold both a base-level BLS certification and instructor-level certification from qualified organizations. The BLS Instructor Bridge is free and will provide eligible instructors with Red Cross BLS instructor certification upon completion. More information on eligibility and steps to complete the Instructor Bridge can be found at

Red Cross BLS will be available March 3, 2015. A limited time introductory 20 percent discount offer will apply to certification through June 30, 2015. Individuals who successfully complete either the instructor-led or blended course will receive a two-year digital Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers certificate.

Course materials will be available both as free digital downloads through the Red Cross Instructor’s Corner ( and in print format on the Red Cross Store ( for a fee.

Additional details about the Red Cross BLS program can be found at

Contact: Red Cross Public Affairs, Phone: (202) 303-5551,, FOR MEDIA ONLY

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.


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