HELP!!! with ACLS Drugs!

  1. [font=Garamond]HELP!!!
    [font=Garamond]
    [font=Garamond] I am taking the ACLS test in 3 days ~ how on earth can I learn all these DRUGS??
    [font=Garamond] There's like 8 different drugs and they said we have to know their routes, dosages, etc....everything!
    [font=Garamond]
    [font=Garamond] ACLS people, HOW DID YOU DO IT?
    [font=Garamond]
    [font=Garamond] help
    [font=Garamond] help
    [font=Garamond] :uhoh21:
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  2. 31 Comments

  3. by   saskrn
    In my experience, there is nothing else to do but memorize them and try to understand all of the physiology. IMO, if you understand the physiology, then you'll "understand" what drugs to give.

    You didn't say if you have taken ACLS before, but take solace in knowing that it is much easier than it was years ago, and there is more emphasis on helping students to understand it. You will do fine, don't panic!
  4. by   gwenith
    Go to Ted's site http://www.toolivenurse.com/ There is nothing like humour to help you learn
  5. by   stbernardclub
    shock -shock- shock- everyone -(epi)=shock and (amiodorone)
    Quote from SunStreak
    [font=Garamond]HELP!!!

    [font=Garamond]I am taking the ACLS test in 3 days ~ how on earth can I learn all these DRUGS??
    [font=Garamond]There's like 8 different drugs and they said we have to know their routes, dosages, etc....everything!

    [font=Garamond]ACLS people, HOW DID YOU DO IT?

    [font=Garamond]help
    [font=Garamond]help
    [font=Garamond]:uhoh21:
  6. by   flashpoint
    Check out www.acls.net is helps some...a lot of it is just rote memorization of the algorithms... I love taking ACLS...
  7. by   Dixielee
    Unfortunately rote memorization is about it, but the good news is.....ACLS has become a lot less intimidating over the years and they are now letting you take cheat sheets or actually algorithms into the testing station with you. You will feel much more comfortable though with a good understanding of the meds. The main ones are atropine, epi and the antiarrhymics. The good news in the megacode is that no matter what the rhythm is, it will more than likely deteroriated into PEA or asystole and then it is easy!

    Know your heart blocks and how to treat them. Some you don't treat, some you pace and some you treat with meds.

    If you take each med and make a chart of doses, route, etc. you will see that they are very similar and really not a lot of wide variations. Sit down and make drug cards like nursing school, but just put very basic info, you don't need much. Then from the cards, make a chart based on what drug, what useage and what route. I think you will see it is not that difficult if you break it down. Good luck and try not to stress too much, they want to make you learn, not fail!
  8. by   chris_at_lucas_RN
    Quote from SunStreak
    [font=Garamond]HELP!!!

    [font=Garamond] I am taking the ACLS test in 3 days ~ how on earth can I learn all these DRUGS??
    [font=Garamond] There's like 8 different drugs and they said we have to know their routes, dosages, etc....everything!

    [font=Garamond] ACLS people, HOW DID YOU DO IT?

    [font=Garamond] help
    [font=Garamond] help
    [font=Garamond] :uhoh21:
    Only eight? You should see the list of cardiac meds I have to learn.

    Try making flash cards. Make several sets. You'll notice on aboutset #5 that you don't have to look at your notes anymore.

    That's when you know you know them.

    Good luck!
  9. by   Town & Country
    Thank you so much for the tips!


    I usually don't have a problem with memorization but for some reason I find this difficult and your suggestions help alot!!
  10. by   chip193
    Take a look at how the drugs are actually packaged.

    Epi - 1 mg in 10 cc (1:10,000)

    Atropine - either 0.5 or 1 mg in 5 cc

    etc.

    This is how I taught the medics to do it. It also seems to work for the nurses in the ACLS classes that I teach now.

    You need to learn what the drugs do (not down to the cellular level!) - just the basics.

    "Atropine speeds the firing of the SA node."

    "Epinepherine increases contractility and increases pulse rate."

    Then you can back into when to use the drugs.

    Good luck!

    Chip
  11. by   needsmore$
    "beta makes the heart beat better"
    Remember Isuprel ? (for us old--I mean seasoned ED group)

    Mneumonics do help-

    "Shock, Shock Shock, everybody shock-all shock-little shock"
    (defib, defib, defib, epi, defib, amiodarone, defib, lidocaine, defib)

    "If a person has a pulse-only give 150 of Amiodarone
    If a person's dead-give "em 300"

    Good luck
    Anne
  12. by   sharann
    Quote from needsmore$
    "beta makes the heart beat better"
    Remember Isuprel ? (for us old--I mean seasoned ED group)

    Mneumonics do help-

    "Shock, Shock Shock, everybody shock-all shock-little shock"
    (defib, defib, defib, epi, defib, amiodarone, defib, lidocaine, defib)

    "If a person has a pulse-only give 150 of Amiodarone
    If a person's dead-give "em 300"

    Good luck
    Anne
    I always liked NAVEL to remember drugs that can can down an ET Tube

    Narcan
    Atropine
    Valium
    Epi
    Lidocaine
    Of course, things may have changed since I last certified last year!Good luck.
    Just remember the basics: Atropine SPEEDS up the heart etc...
    ABC's of course
    Basic heart arrythmias and normals
  13. by   Town & Country
    Thanks for the tips.

    I'm studying and breaking. LOL
    I can't just do the same thing or my eyes start to cross.

    I still feel like I don't know it well enough, but on the other hand, I'm not a machine and I just can do what I can do.
    It is difficult.
    I did go to the ACLS.net site, but they still have the precordial thump on there and that's not up-to-date so I didn't look at it further; I was afraid I'd get confused.

    I'm just trying to keep it all straight and crossing my fingers!
  14. by   Toby's mum
    Quote from chris_at_lucas_RN
    Only eight? You should see the list of cardiac meds I have to learn.

    Try making flash cards. Make several sets. You'll notice on aboutset #5 that you don't have to look at your notes anymore.

    That's when you know you know them.

    Good luck!

    Chris,

    This sounds like a great idea.

    Would you be willing to share a typical flash card with us for one of the ACLS drugs so we can get an idea of how you would lay the information out? That would be very helpful if you have time. I just want to see how you do one of them, so that I can set mine up in a similar fashion. THanks, Stephanie

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