ACLS Certification?!

  1. My new job requires me to be ACLS certified and I'll be taking the class in January. Until I got this job, I have only worked psych research. The other nurses here tell me the class and exam are very difficult. So...

    What would you suggest I do to prepare for this? And how difficult would you say it is to acquire the knowledge and pass the class?

    Thanks for any and all advice!
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   KC CHICK
    There's nothing to worry about!! ACLS isn't the millitary drill that it used to be....at least not at my hospital.
    The attitude they conveyed to us was; as long as you go away from here knowing more than you came with, that's what counts. The thoughts are that you WILL NOT BE ALONE DURING A CODE. It is definately a team effort. I came away learning a lot during the two days of ACLS.

    The only thing I can think of regarding preparation for the course is a good understanding of Telemetry rythms....what's life threatening, what's not life threatening. Just look over the ACLS logorythms a couple of times before your class. They go over them again, and again, and again.

    You'll be fine!
    Anne
  4. by   NurseDianne
    Hey.....it's not to bad.......Just get your book early.......take your pre-test..........know your drugs......

    these sites may help.......helped me and Gary.......passed w/ no problem

    www.skillstat.com/cardiactriviaSPdem.html

    www.skillstat.com/heartscapeDemo.html


    any of the www.skillstat.com sites should help

    Best of luck
    Dianne
  5. by   ptnurse
    I recertified in ACLS last summer and the rhythm strips were not even in the book this time. The first time I took the ACLS it was two days of dread. Now, it is a piece of cake. They walk you through everything. There were people in the class that didn't even have the book before they showed up to take the test.
  6. by   hoolahan
    If you know how to read rhythm strips, agree it is much easier now than it used to be. BUT, if you have no telemetry expereince, it would be a real challenge for you.
  7. by   Tweety
    The instructors at our facility don't allow anyone to fail. They teach you until you learn. Good luck!
  8. by   ekianurse
    I found these sites to be helpful.

    www.v-tachonline.com/acls/master/index.html

    www.acls.net
  9. by   RNforLongTime
    I purchased a book by Springhouse called, Mastering ACLS, with the new guidlines. It was a big help. I also purchased the ACLS provider manual ahead of time too. It helps to be prepared. Good luck! I was really nervous when I took it this past March but the instructors made it less terrifying
  10. by   BrandyBSN
    I agree with others here, the tele strips are the most challenging part, if you review the basics of strips, the rest will be cake.

    I passed first time when I took mine a few months ago. I was SCARED TO DEATH~ but it wasnt bad at all, and even the docs had to ask the nurses questions (ER and ICU nurses and paramedics taught the class, no docs trained to teach it available that week). and it helped us all grow as a team.

    you will be fine
    BrandyBSN
  11. by   rstewart
    I would no longer describe the completion of an ACLS course as "very difficult". Indeed I wonder how long that reputation will persist since the course's scope has been radically reduced over the past dozen years.

    Many years ago a nurse first had to recertify in BLS the first night. You had an airway testing station where you had to demonstrate intubation of an infant, child and adult manequin (timed and with proper technique), insertion of oral airways, insertion of EOAs, proper use of bag mask devices and other delivery systems. There was a central line insertion testing station. There was a separate dysrhythmia testing station/exam. There was a station called Therapeutic Modalities where you were shown a slide with a brief case scenerio and a rhythm strip; you had to identify the rhythm and then race through/list (this was another timed test) all the interventions in the correct/appropriate algorithm. There was a written exam which was longer and in my opinion more difficult than the current exam. And finally there was the megacode...not much different in content but in those days all it took was missing a pulse check or other miscue and that was it---you had to repeat megacode. Make a small mistake on the retake and you failed the course. On top of all that, too many of the instructors were bullies...you always felt that they were trying to trip you up rather than help you succeed.

    There was never any excuse for the bullies. But I am sorry that new critical care nurses will never experience the feeling of accomplishment that came with passing ACLS for the first time.

    Today in most cases the only testing stations are the written test and megacode. The written test is only 33 questions. Some courses now even permit open book exams. Many of the questions appear word for word in the course pre-test, so it is well worth your while to do the pre-test. Read the test questions carefully and don't "read into" the questions. With minimal study you will have no problem. With respect to megacode, the evaluation is much less severe but there is still a lot to learn. You must still learn your algorithms---make particularly sure that you know the pulseless V-tach/ v-fib algorithm cold since you can be 100% sure it will be tested during megacode. Most courses offer megacode practice sessions...I strongly suggest as a first time provider candidate that you attend one or more of these sessions.

    In conclusion, don't let people scare you. With preparation you will complete the course successfully. But do prepare.
  12. by   mario_ragucci
    This is a great thread. For nursing school we hafta be CPR level B. I fear ACLS beause I saw the book. But a nurse could chew up and swallow the material. Think about Maslow and how yev all ready got this far. You've come a long way. An RN should and will take any class thats health/care related and retain. I am sounding bossy and authorative for humor, but honestly, you'v got alot going for you just being a RN.
  13. by   Jenny P
    Rstewart is right, there were bully instructors in the old days (and you did such a great job of describing the whole scenario, too!) and it was very tough. But it is easy now-a-days and the instructors are there to help (not belittle!) you through it. Do use the Mastering ACLS book by Springhouse and the ACLS provider book if you don't know rhythms, etc. as Nurse-Lou suggested. And relax; you can do this!
  14. by   researchrabbit
    Thanks so much everyone! I'll get the Mastering ACLS book, try the websites and work on the rhythms...

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