While most studies in the past focused on technical aspects of CPR, recently the importance of non-technical factors such as teamwork, communication and leadership have been recognized [3-8]. Several studies have demonstrated that CPR causes significant mental stress in rescuers [9-15], and
health care workers often feel unprepared to manage stress and conflicts in a cardiac arrest situation [16-18]. This is important because the stress Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical experienced in an emergency situation may impair performance. In line with that, we recently found that feeling stressed and overwhelmed while delivering CPR was associated with worse CPR performance . Hence, stress reducing measures may improve performance in critical situations. To reduce stress, the focus on attentional processes may be a promising venue. Stress can have two opposite effects on attention. First, stress narrows attention Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical .
For tasks that are relatively easy, narrowing attention can lead to improved performance by supporting a focus on the task . However, narrowing of attention entails the danger of not noticing potentially Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical important information, a phenomenon known as “tunnel vision” . Furthermore, it is also related to premature closure, which is characterized by making decisions based on insufficient consideration of information available . The second mechanism refers to an impaired ability to suppress irrelevant information, increased selleck chemicals llc distractibility, ultimately leading to misjudgements Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical of priorities [23-25]. A related mechanism refers to non-systematic scanning of informational cues . However, information that
distracts from task priorities may not only stem from external events but may also be generated internally, for instance Inhibitors,research,lifescience,medical by worrying about one’s own performance (intrusive thoughts) . Such intrusive thoughts may be increased by noticing that one’s performance is not optimal , thus possibly leading to a vicious circle. The response to acute stress is highly the dependent on the individual’s perception of demands and resources [10,28], and on stress reactivity . Therefore, stress management training may reduce stress . Indeed, stress management training has had positive effects not only on stress indicators but also on performance [31,32]. However, although such procedures have been implemented in medical settings, they typically have not been evaluated in terms of medical performance . Based on positive results achieved in other performance settings [15,32,34], and based on our recent finding that a brief leadership instruction improves CPR performance [5,35] we hypothesized that a brief task-focusing strategy may reduce stress and improve CPR performance.