BLS and RQI - Can't do it

Nurses General Nursing

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BLS and RQI - Can't do it

I'm just finishing my second year in nursing. I just took an ACLS class through my hospital and was recertified. I completed the online BLS portion but had to use the hospital RQI mannequin to complete the BLS. I fought for an hour trying to get my compressions deep enough to complete even just the CPR portion. I failed every single time and hurt myself in the process. 75% is the passing. I only made 43% at the maximum. I was literally in tears and shaking when I had to admit defeat. I had to go out and do an outside course in order to complete my BLS. However, I've been told that in the near future that my hospital is going to be only using these horrific mannequins and RQI in order to complete BLS. I don't know if the mannequin was faulty or I have just a very weak upper body strength (which I do) but I fear the future. I fear that I will be suspended and not be able to work as a nurse because of the stupid BLS recertification mannequin. Has anyone else experience this? What was your solution? I went through too much with nursing school and I'm in so much debt from nursing school. I can't lose my job because of this RQI nonsense. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you. 


6,656 Posts

It sounds like you'll need to ask for some kind of accommodation if it comes to that. Talk to your supervisor.

As a side note, the concept of having real-time feedback about the quality of the compressions is not nonsense. The more silly thing was the way prior training was done, with one incapable instructor strolling around chatting while 60 or so people pressed on a piece of rubber on a Spring for a minute or two. Real CPR is its own experience--but it does indeed require a LOT more energy (to do it right) than what the old mannequins required to depress the sternum. Those mannequins might have been helpful for teaching hand placement, rhythm, speed, etc, but they were a joke with regard to actual force needed.


4,077 Posts

@Brae30, have you heard of  the American Heart Association's (AHA) Advisor: Basic Life Support (BLS) program?  The AHA implemented this in 2020 for those that passed the cognitive portion of the BLS course, but were unable to "independently perform the physical skills of CPR [verbiage from AHA website].

Best wishes.

Specializes in NICU, PICU, Peds Cardiac.

Friend, if it makes you feel any better, those RQI mannequins are The Worst. I just had to wrestle with a broken one last week for both the compressions and breaths, and it had me in a sweat.

A couple of thoughts:

First, it helps to use a step-stool, that way you can put your full body weight into the compressions (this is very helpful in real compressions, too).

Second, I think it's literally impossible to compress too hard on the RQI mannequins (vs. the older regular CPR mannequins). Don't fool around trying to make the compressions 'deep enough' without being 'too deep,' just push as hard as you can each time (this is different from the breathes). This is a little counterintuitive, since with a lot of the non-RQI ones, you actually have to go to the correct depth.

Third, I'm not sure if your facility has a bunch of them (my hospital probably has at least 30+ scattered around the various units and buildings), but try to find one on a very solid surface. Mine last week was on a wobbly table, and every time I tried to compress the mannequin slid around, so I had to work twice as hard. Also, try to pick one with a screen that can be positioned directly in front of you while you compress so you don't have to look over your shoulder to see the depth/rate (since that will make your compressions less effective, which is also true in a real code).

Fourth, if you're tired, give yourself a break before you try again later. There's a reason we don't compress in real life for an hour straight. If you're already worn out, the chances that you'll be successful are even smaller. Get started on your RQI renewals early so you aren't in a time crunch to get it done on a specific date. If you have several mannequins to choose from and one isn't working for you (wobbly table, defective airway), try a different one next time.

Fifth, if it's still giving you trouble, ask your educator for help. They probably have some tips and tricks for when the dummies aren't working well. (This is perhaps most important for their airways, which are truly the devil's work--point their chins toward the sky...)

May the odds be ever in your favor. You can do this.


4 Articles; 2,467 Posts

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

Ours are always broken. One time I had to fashion a hygienic "mouth to mouth" for the baby because the mask contraption was broken and it was the end of the quarter. I think that they do have some benefit with the real time feedback because many people don't have the rhythm intuitively.

And my hospital is one that has gone to quarterly RQI and no longer accepts outside BLS certifications. It's in our education system and the mannequins are online. 

OP, I'd bring your educator with you next time to make sure you've got the best set-up for you. Good luck!

Career Columnist / Author

Nurse Beth, MSN

157 Articles; 3,211 Posts

Specializes in Tele, ICU, Staff Development.

It can be frustrating. Sometimes it seems the prompts contradict themselves- do they want it faster or do they want it deeper?

But I finally got the hang of it by getting in a zone (relaxing) and watching the performance monitor. I guarantee you can get this with practice.

Specializes in Critical Care.

Also when it says do you want to keep going don't!  It doesn't help and it only tires you out!  Just start over.  But as others said quit and take a break if you are tired out.  So many of us had problems with the mannequins our educator told us to use each other to help pass ie if we couldn't do it have our coworker essentially do it for us.  I don't know if that is kosher where you work.  But that is what it came down to for some of us to get the robot to pass us!


3 Posts

We had one that the settings were off and no matter what you did you failed. When it's working it's great and shouldn't be to hard to complete. A step stool does help and luckily there is one provided. 

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