ACLS Certification First Time. Overwhelmed, need help

  1. Hi everyone! I am in need of help and support in studying for my first ACLS certification. I have about two weeks to study and I am eager to learn. I have gone to the student website and taken the student assessment a few time and I am getting better in passing the pretest. I would like any advice on how to study for the ACLS. I have spoke to coworkers who said not to worry about but that you do need to study. I feel like to book is a lot to take in. Any help would be appreciated.
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    About MayBSN

    Joined: Feb '09; Posts: 25; Likes: 2


  3. by   RileyRN2013
    Make sure you know your rhythms and treatments. I like the following if it doesn't open google Indiana university acls study guide. The class teaches you how to work as a team and reviews some of the advanced skills. If you know the acls guidelines, you will be fine.
  4. by   Anna Flaxis
    Take a deep breath.

    Just study the materials and go to the class. You'll do fine.
  5. by   Kidrn911
    Know your rhythms and the drugs that treat it. if you suck at ECG interp here is a web site I use Tools | SkillStat Learning - Fast, Fun and Effective!
  6. by   green34
    SkillStat for ekg interpretation. Remember that you always have to check for a pulse to make sure it's not pea.

    Learn a few drugs that you can use. I've never had someone say I can't use either lidocaine or amiodarone. It's best to know both though. Also, atropine and adenosine are drinking drugs. Atropine, you top your beer off so you use atropine because it has a T in it to increase the heart rate. You down your beer so you use adenosine to decrease the heart rate. Usually you can get away with knowing either amiodarone or lidocaine.

    And remember, you are going to treat the patient. Learn the steps in the pocket cards. If you have this presentation, you'll do X, Y, Z. One option is to do mock scenarios and remember what treatments you will do when you get that rhythm during skill stat. Like if it is brady and they are symptomatic, then what treatments will you do?

    Also, remember IVs before IOs.
  7. by   PoetInAHat
    To add to what everyone else has been saying... Know which rhythms are shockable and which ones you can't shock. Know the dose of meds especially... atropine, the first and second dose of amiodarone, the first and second dose of adenosine, and the dose of aspirin for someone experiencing a MI. Don't freak out, study and you will do fine. They go over it all during class. Good luck
  8. by   brownbook
    Take a deep breath. I have taken it so many times (I don't want to count, makes me feel old) but ACLS has changed its focus.

    It is not a pass, fail, course. They want every student to pass the course. I can't swear that every class/instructor is the same as what I have encountered, but many times the instructors will take a student aside who is struggling and work with them one on one. I have seen students kill" the patient in mock code and the instructor takes them aside, reviews what the mistake was, and the student gets another chance.

    If they miss too many on the written test, the instructor reviews their mistakes and allows a re-take. Even telling students they can come back in a few days and re-take the written test.

    I don't want to imply they are letting idiots pass the test. If the student obviously doesn't understand a thing they are not given a card.

    Even if you fail you will have learned something and can just re-take it next time it is offered.
  9. by   MayBSN
    Thanks guys! I checked out the SkillStat and it is super useful in brushing up recognizing the rhythm. I know we will be going over a lot of info in class but when its time to do the mega codes, how is it done? Do you get a rhythm and identify it and inform the instructor or team what needs to be done? I wished I knew what to expect r/t the megacode. I know the I will be more comfortable with the test, but the megacode makes me uneasy because it not something I practice everyday in my job.
  10. by   PoetInAHat
    I have had the megacode done differently just about every time I take ACLS. For example... Some instructors have had us in groups of about 4 and we went around and talked out the steps of the code. You get hung or not sure they let a team mate help you out. Another time we again were in groups of 4 and we each had an assigned role (team leader, airway person who switch with the person doing compressions, and med person) and we actually ran the code on a dummy attached to a monitor that the instructor controls. But it was very realxed. We helped each other out and had some good laughs.

    They want you to pass. It's a lot of repetition in the class. You watch the video, the video summarizes it, the instructor then talks about it, then at some point you see the video again. And most instructors are like "you might want to remember this and that... you will see it again" or "this is something you are going to want to remember."

    I was really nervous the first time I took ACLS... Study some. Take some notes. Pay attention in the class and you will do great!
  11. by   MayBSN
    I took the class today, and it was so intimidating. I was the only one in my dept everyone else was from dept who required it. I am happy to say I passed! So happy! The megacode was stressful but the instructor was helpful and facilitated learning. I thought the test was hard. I now know why you have to study for ACLS before hand. Lots of info, esp if you are not used to all the meds. So happy I took it, now I know so much more about codes. I have to say I know my rhythms by heart (haha)
  12. by   classicdame

    The Skillstat website is outdated. But glad it was helpful. Just saying in case some people take their instruction too literally and end up making wrong decisions.