PALS course

  1. Hi

    Has anyone taken PALS?

    What can I expect?

    17 chapters to read in the book and it is overwhelming....

    2 day course with written test (I am not liking that...).

    Any input would be appreciated by those who have already taken it.

    Many thanks,

    Sarah
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   vamedic4
    First off Sarah, relax!!

    PALS is a course designed to help you understand pediatric norms and abnormal findings, and effectively treat them. The test is BASIC and if you read the question you'll see the answer. KNOW YOUR BASIC LIFE SUPPORT.
    Skills stations now are different than in the past, where everyone worked a "code" and was graded on their ability. Now there are dozens of different "scenarios" and you must take what you're given and provide appropriate care...careful not to "over escalate" but to provide appropriate care given the situation.

    Listen to your instructors at lecture time, read your handouts. It's really not necessary to read the book, but if that will help you then do it.

    Take a deep breath. You can do this.

    vamedic4
  4. by   Larry77
    Have you had ACLS? If so, the format is very similar and just remember the instructors are there to help you learn the material not to fail you
  5. by   TazziRN
    Don't panic. I have been PALS certified for many years and never cracked the book once beyond the first time, because it's similar to ACLS. The main thing you have to remember is that dosages are based on weight more so than adults. If you have the little flip book from the current ACLS course, that's all you need for PALS. In fact, because the new guidelines have not been published yet, you are not required to even have the text book at this time, just the little spiral flip book. It has ACLS in front and PALS in back.
  6. by   Sarah, RNBScN
    Quote from TazziRN
    Don't panic. I have been PALS certified for many years and never cracked the book once beyond the first time, because it's similar to ACLS. The main thing you have to remember is that dosages are based on weight more so than adults. If you have the little flip book from the current ACLS course, that's all you need for PALS. In fact, because the new guidelines have not been published yet, you are not required to even have the text book at this time, just the little spiral flip book. It has ACLS in front and PALS in back.

    Thanks for your reply.
  7. by   Sarah, RNBScN
    Quote from Larry77
    Have you had ACLS? If so, the format is very similar and just remember the instructors are there to help you learn the material not to fail you
    Yes. ACLS was very stressful for first time course.
    Thanks for your feedback.
  8. by   wooh
    I thought it was easier than ACLS, and I took PALS first. Skim through the chapters, making note of what's different from adults (like think respiratory problem rather than cardiac problem as the cause.) Do the questions at the end of the chapters and your pretest, then pay attention during class and you'll be fine. Good luck!!
  9. by   fgoff
    I thought that PALS was a better course than ACLS. I agree with all here, Be sure to listen in the class and at the practice stations. All the instuctors That I've had over the years work very hard at giving all the info tha tyou will need to be sucessful>

    Best of Luck!
  10. by   Spidey's mom
    For me, PALS was definitely easier than ACLS.

    It looks daunting but it is very doable. And the instructors are there to help you.

    steph
  11. by   nuangel1
    anyone know how i locate a local PALS course?
  12. by   snowfreeze
    I have taken PALS in the past, I don't remember it being anything but a wonderful learning experience. It is the pediatric directed ACLS. Local PALS courses can usually be found through the pre-hospital department of your local hospital. The paramedics have to recertify every 2 years as do most ER nurses.
  13. by   HillaryC
    Quote from nuangel1
    anyone know how i locate a local PALS course?
    There are links from the AHA website (heart.org).

    try this link: http://heart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3012360

    Good luck,
    Hillary
  14. by   ski_ER
    i just finished up PALS today, as a matter of fact... took ACLS 1 year ago, and i also agree with others that PALS was much easier than ACLS. as already mentioned... LISTEN, take notes if it helps you, study the notes and any handouts they might give you during the lecture phase - they gave us some 'cheat sheets' - that basically consisted of tables of the various ages of pediatric vital norms, different rhythyms and how to treat them, etc. i took notes b/c it was made fairly obvious to us that 'lecture holds the key.' i spent way too much time worrying about reading the rhythyms and there wasn't one strip to read on the test! unlike ACLS, where we did have to read strips on the exam.

    the test was sooooooo much easier than anticipated. of course a non-medical person would probably have quite a bit of difficulty passing the test, but if you have a strong, general nursing education, i truly believe the test primarily consisted of 'nursing common sense' answer selections. i was able to answer 98% of the questions without hesitation and got 100 on the test - and i'm not one to ace medical/nursing exams with 100's frequently.

    and by the way.... i didn't read one page of the book - although i usually do read quite a bit of the text to prepare for exams, they stressed paying attention & listening as everything we needed to know would be covered in lecture - and they were right! we had a blast in our PALS class - there were about 11 ER nurses and a couple more from different areas. the instructors were definitely there to make it a fun learning experience and helped us tremendously. leading the codes during our mock scenarios, and observing and assisting others leading the codes was very helpful too.

    our questions today were SCENARIO, SCENARIO, SCENARIO.... "8 yr old arrives in ED, unresponsive, BP 55/30, R 10, HR 60, mom reveals that pt. has been vomiting for 2 days................" and so on and so forth. sometimes there are a couple of answers that are correct, but you have to pick the one of utmost priority - so you're assessing all of these different physical symptoms of the pt., and then decide (with the answers) what the 'most right thing' to do would be at that moment. some of the answers are just flat out wrong of course, but others might have a couple of right interventions, but that's where choosing the 'most right thing' comes in. i did review some of the scenarios in the book - the lecture notes sufficed for me, but it can't hurt to review some case scenarios from the book.

    i'm not sure how many different tests they use, but my test had no dosage calculations, no strips to read....... and although it might sound tricky, there were no direct questions, such as..... 'The first line of drugs to give to a patient in Asystole is.....' there were a couple of questions about 'shock' scenarios - in one of them they stated the pt. was in V Fib, blah, blah, blah, ........ and how will you address the V Fib? well, of course the answer is Defib. once again.... described to you in a lengthy scenario.

    another one, pt. is hypovolemic, blah, blah, blah........ and the answer is that you want to immediately administer fluids - 20ml/kg over 20 min...............

    my point is that i thought the questions were okay, but even better, once you see all of the answers to choose from, the right one is fairly obvious. some of our questions were a paragraph, describing tons of details about a patient's condition, but just look for key events going on with the patient, that match up to the obvious treatment remedy in the answer selection.

    sorry so long, but it's still fresh in my mind, since i just finished up the course today :wink2: hope this helps you some. RELAX - it won't be half as hard as you're anticipating!

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