After much internal discussion, research and piloting, Wilderness Medical Associates introduced its own Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) certification courses more than 18 years ago. From their inception, we have worked diligently to keep our materials consistent with the guidelines and updates published by the American Heart Association’s (AHA) in the journal Circulation. The current AHA Guidelines were published in 2015 and are based on their collaborative efforts with the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR). They are also consistent with Canada’s equivalent, the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Why did we change?

Primarily, we found that standard CPR teaching methodologies and materials did not meet our students’ needs. We developed our courses so that they maintained the same principles and skills but packaged them in our more practical and hands-on format. Previously we did CPR training as a stand-alone module before beginning the course. This approach was neither efficient nor educationally sound. Now we integrate the material and skills throughout the course. This way, our students get to see all of the components put into perspective. We discuss risk factors and illnesses within the context of the relevant systems. We have our students practice all of the skills on manikins first and then integrate them within the context of drills, scenarios, simulations and case studies throughout the entire course.

Will WMA’s CPR certification be recognized by everyone?

One of the problems with doing our own certification is that individual states, local jurisdictions and employers have varying requirements for the level of training, the certifying agency and re-certification cycles. A few large organizations have been given a pass because of their size and name recognition. Many people believe that those few organizations represent the standard. Lacking the same sort of universal familiarity, we must seek recognition on a case-by-case basis. To proactively obtain recognition for all of our potential students and all of their potential certification needs would require thousands of individual inquiries. We have opted instead to respond to requests as they come in. We are able to provide goals and objectives, schedules, teaching materials and some test questions. To date, our success rate at winning recognition has been good.

What about certification cycle?

Our CPR certification is good for 3 years. Jurisdictions and organizations vary from 1 – 3 years. Because different people will need to abide by different standards, they need to make sure they know what they are.

What if my employer questions the validity of your WMA CPR certification?

We have changed our cards so that the level is clearly stated (e.g., BLS – infant to adult; Adult Only – 8 year to adult). The skills taught are stated on the front of the card. If the information in this post and on the card do not satisfy their concerns, by all means contact the office and we will do our best to help. We believe that you have been given training that is every bit as complete and comprehensive as any of the more universally recognized courses. We want to make sure that you get full credit for your work, knowledge and skills.