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Why Is St John Using Virtual Reality in First Aid Training?

St John first aid training virtual reality VR goggle delivery

Over 6400 people suffered a cardiac arrest in 2018 in Victoria alone, but only 40% received CPR from a bystander – a figure St John is hoping to improve to 90% over the next 5 years.

Cardiac arrest can happen anywhere, anytime and to people of all ages, backgrounds and health status. In most cases, the first person to respond to a cardiac arrest emergency may be a citizen/bystander. Bystander Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) is a crucial component in what is known as the ‘chain of survival’, and research has shown that a person suffering from a cardiac arrest who receive bystander CPR is more than two times likely to survive.

CPR from a bystander in a sudden cardiac arrest is critical; but unfortunately, even some trained bystanders may lack the confidence to provide lifesaving CPR in the real world

Training Organisations around the world are looking into ways to tackle the issues around bystander response and many are exploring simulation technology such as Virtual Reality (VR) which presents a powerful tool for CPR training.

With a study done by the American Heart Association on CPR using VR, bystander response was significantly increased with the addition of VR training. The study showed that incorporating VR with existing CPR training improved the response of the bystander in the Chain of Survival variables (call 911, perform CPR, use AED).

By incorporating VR in CPR training, St John Ambulance Victoria aims to enhance existing training by immersing the bystander in a realistic cardiac arrest scenario, therefore reducing the barrier to performing life-saving CPR when presented with a real-world emergency.


Known as SJx, St John’s interactive VR training guides the student through different training simulations (such as a carpark and a childcare centre), where they are presented with a real-life simulation of a medical emergency and guided through various stages of the DRSABCD action plan.

SJx allows the student to respond to hazards and questions while immersed in the experience, with research showing that students who are trained through virtual reality answer questions correctly 82% of the time, which is eight per cent higher than the average respondent.

The VR CPR course also significantly reduces training time by as much as 75%, allowing St John Ambulance Victoria to deliver their premium training experience in a more efficient and economical way. The VR CPR course can be delivered via two methods: a one-hour delivery for four students using virtual reality or a two-hour delivery for a group of 20 students using immersive learning. This will cut up to two hours from the traditional time it takes to deliver and undertake CPR training.

Watch the video below to hear what people had to say about SJx at the launch at Southern Cross station:

Award Winning First Aid Training

We're thrilled to announce not just 1 but 2 wins for St John Ambulance Victoria in the Australian Business Awards 2020 for our first aid training product SJx:

The training innovation has delivered benefits to many parts of the community, including:

  1. Students: SJx delivers a more streamlined learning experience to embed knowledge, they are also better able to fit shorter training commitments around a busy work and life schedule
  2. Businesses: when it comes to a 50% time saving with SJx, this represents significant wages saved for businesses in training their staff, with no loss of quality in the outcome
  3. Community: less time in training means more people willing and able to undertake training, resulting in more confident first aiders in the community

This acknowledgment through these 2 awards has well and truly cemented St John as the real leaders in the first aid training industry and demonstrated a recognition of the digital transformation occurring throughout the organisation.

SJx training is offered at St John Ambulance Victoria’s Melbourne city venue located at Level 6, 310 King Street, Melbourne or delivered to groups by St John Ambulance Victoria trainers at workplaces around Victoria.

We urge the wider public to experience the SJx difference themselves and book into a course today.

Group of first aid training participants socially distanced


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