The Effect of Healthcare Clinical Experience on ACLS Test Scores

Johnna Hobson Marshall, Gardner-Webb University


This pilot research study explored the effect of healthcare clinical experience on knowledge acquisition and skill performance of healthcare providers taking Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) for the first time. Kolb's Experiential Learning Theory and Patricia Benner's Novice-to-Expert Model of Skill Acquisition provided the theoretical framework for this study. A convenience sample of sixteen healthcare providers participated in this pilot research study using a post-test methodology to determine the effect of clinical experience on success in ACLS courses. Study participants were placed into two groups, Group 1 (n = 9) had 0 to 1 year clinical experience and Group 2 (n = 7) had greater than 4 years clinical experience. Using SPSS Version 18, an independent samples t -test determined that there was no statistical difference in the scores of novice healthcare providers versus experienced healthcare providers (t = .437, p = .669). The mean ACLS test scores for Group 1 was 91.56, and the mean ACLS test scores for Group 2 was 90.86. The significance of the findings of this pilot research study indicated the statistical results did not support the hypothesis that healthcare clinical experience influences success in an ACLS course. Although the independent samples t-test results of this pilot research study comparing the mean ACLS test scores between the two clinical experience groups was not statistically significant given that a small sample does not provide enough power to adequately run statistical tests and perform statistical analysis, replicating this study with a larger sample size may determine statistical significance.