The field of resuscitation is an area where theory and practice are developing at a very rapid pace. Advances in technology and an increase in the number of published quality research papers mean that guidelines are revised periodically so that standards in cardiopulmonary resuscitation can reflect the most current thinking and application of technical skills. The increased patient dependency, now common within many hospital and community settings, has further emphasised the need for healthcare professionals to become competent in basic life support and, increasingly, immediate life support skills.

The premise behind this book is that healthcare professionals starting their career as practitioners need to be equipped with a blend of theoretical and practice-based skills in order to be effective as first responders, resuscitation team members or leaders of the arrest situation. This textbook therefore approaches knowledge and skill development in resuscitation from a practical viewpoint and introduces the concept of the '3Rs', namely recognition, response and review.

To this end, we have adopted the idea of 'recognition' as a process that involves assessing the patient and determining whether the individual is unconscious or suffering a cardiac arrest. Within this phase other clinical features and patient data must be considered before 'responding'. Included here is the idea of taking action based on the cause of the arrest. This requires decision and action. Through this format we hope to have developed an accessible text for the novice. The final R relates to 'reviewing' actions and decisions taken or omitted but this can also be interpreted as reviewing what has been learned.

There is no doubt that the first experience of participating in an arrest is terrifying, whatever the role or activity adopted. We expect the reader will become more confident and proficient in recognising, responding to and reviewing resuscitation situations. Moreover, we hope that this text will stimulate greater interest and enthusiasm in the resuscitation field.

Pam Moule and John W Albarran

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