After a long time of thinking about getting my ACLS, then rescheduling it 3 times, I finally got around to getting my ACLS certification!
As it still holds today, in America, we live in a society of merit and credibility. My parents have always told me, “Continued education is the only thing that advances your professional career.” Needless to say, paying for it is a different story.
The course itself was pretty straightforward really. You simply sign up for it through the American Heart Association website http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/, or a secondhand tier. I actually prefer the secondhand companies. If you can find them, through word of mouth or whatever, it’ll definitely much more cost efficient, by a long shot. I’ve been told that these are usually operated by private certified AHA instructors, who’ve set up shop. Hell, on the AHA website, they freaking advertise their classes at like $300+. Ain’t no one got time for that mess.
I personally went to http://expresstraining.com/. And it was perfect for me.
Don’t get it twisted, an ACLS certification won’t guarantee you a job in the future. Though, I strongly believe it’ll open up some doors for anyone. Regardless of what specialty you’re in. If you’re a nursing student, go ahead and grab it! It’s certainly a resume booster! But, let’s face it…just because I have the certification, doesn’t mean I know shit about how the real world works. In the end, I’m just a little more knowledgable. And, I also think it’s good to have anyway. Hell I encourage everyone to be certification in at least Basic Life Support. I believe we’d all live in a safer place.
From my experience with it, first of course, you pay for the course itself. Then you’ll have to complete this pretest, that is typically 60 questions long. And you have to get like 70% of them right. You can re-take it as any times as you want, though, as the questions never change.
It’ll ask you to identify things like this…
(Monomorphic Ventricular Tachycardia)
Or things like, “Which medication would you give in an asystolic patient?”
However, as noted by my instructors, medications and EKGs weren’t necessarily a “main focus” in the course. It’s certainly needed for a quick identification/reference point. That’s for sure. But, the main focus of ACLS really came down to 1) “Does the patient have a pulse?” 2) “Let’s continue chest compressions” and most importantly 3) “What do you do next?”
The intuition of following AHA’s advanced cardiac life support are all based on their suggested “algorithms.” Every hospital may do it differently, however they all might just fall in the same ball park. My instructor even created a scenario where that patient was a psych patient who went into cardiac arrest. It was funny. The scenario was behaviorally extensive and I was laughing in my head because I kept my experiences a secret. Anyway, the algorithms were like those “follow your own path” books that I use to read when I was a kid. At the end of each chapter, it gave you choices to make, which all led to different stories/paths. Needless to say, the determining factor in real life situations are obviously the patient’s. If the patient had no pulse and the EKG read this…you do this. That sort of thing.
The class itself gave me mild anxiety, to tell you the truth. As soon as they kicked on a video, I started getting a little emotional, restless and a little heart heavy. You see, if you’ve been reading my blog since day one, you’d know that my father survived a heart attack back in January of 2016. Hell, all the man was doing was shoveling the snow. But, it can happen to anyone really. And yet, today, he’s still as stubborn as the rest of him, regarding his aftercare.
Watching those videos made me nervous. I pictured my father going through the whole 9 yards…being transferred from the gurney, getting cardioverted, going to the perfusion lab, etc. I honestly got scared. Shout out to all the advanced care nurses out there and their whole team! I can’t even imagine what you all go through everyday, the pressure, the quick decisions, etc.