Anyone a ACLS instructor?

  1. Why I ask??? Today I went to ACLS for re-certification....prior to the test the instructor said, "The ACLS instructor course usually cost $450 but now they're offering the course for $200. The course is independent from the hospital."

    And first I thought wow that would be cool....and I could keep up with my ACLS. I currently work step-down so there's "codes" but not as "many" as ICU or E.R.

    I feel comfortable that I know ACLS....but I don't have extensive "in the field" experience with codes. I want to become more knowledgable and in 4 years work in CVICU but now working step-down works best for me. I feel "comfortable" in my position....I have a lot going on "outside" of the hospital scene so I don't want a huge change....like transferring into ICU....which I so wish to do. (but will not for 4 years....) I guess I'm getting the itch to learn something new.

    What was your over-all experience being an ACLS instructor? Did you enjoy it? Give me any details you know. And recommendations.

    I just want to do something.....and learn more stuff....And I've taken ACLS and read the ACLS book from 1st page to last that I feel "comfortable" with the information....but I know there's soooo much more to learn.

    I'm rambling.....I'll stop now.
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   catlady
    I used to be an ACLS instructor. I wanted to be an instructor so I'd never have to go through the course again! I hated it when they "dumbed down" the standards. Not that I wanted to make people sweat or stress, but they knew they were going to pass, so they didn't bother to be prepared. ICU nurses who didn't know the difference between adenosine and verapamil. It was a joke having them identify the rhythm, because they knew which algorithm I was teaching and which rhythm went with it. Mega-code was too much, but this was not enough.

    Then the people running the course were so anxious to have the entire program done before lunch, they would stick their head in every five minutes to ask if I was done with my group. No time to teach, no time to evaluate whether anyone understood the algorithms. I don't think you can check off twenty people in fifteen minutes, and teach the algorithm with any degree of competence. I was told I was too slow and I should be like another instructor. Except that I found out that instructor was so disgusted with being told to hurry up that she would just sign everyone's sheet that they passed and send them out the door. ACLS isn't meant to be completed in three hours.

    I wanted to teach through another facility, but the first facility wouldn't issue my card (showing I was current in my teaching requirements), and the second facility wouldn't accept me without the card. I don't teach ACLS any more, so maybe things have changed. I understand the standards were once again revised.
  4. by   Stormy
    One of the most positive benefits to being an ACLS instructor is that I am confident that I always know the material. Responding to codes is less intimidating this way. However, teaching can be stressful as well.

    Instructors in our courses are a mix of nurses, paramedics and physicians. The students are a mix as well, so it seems to work well for us. I used to hate the prospect of having physicians in the group, but I have since learned that they don't know as much as they think they do, and come to the courses less prepared. I usually marvel at how well the medics know their stuff, and I usually come away from a course having learned from them as students as well.

    We can't conduct our courses independently with varying standards as catlady describes. The courses are all through Heart and Stroke, and we must meet their standards.

    All in all, I like being an instructor. Being course co-ordinator is a bit of a pain at times though.
  5. by   misti_z
    I'm signed up to take an ACLS course for the first time in July.
  6. by   Stormy
    Good for you, misti_z! Good luck with your course!
  7. by   Brownms46
    Funny another nurse and I were discussing just what catlady posted. How the course has been "dumbed down"! In fact there was a thread right here on this board, that also discussed the same problem with the course as it is presented today! There have been open book tests...ACLS courses without Rhythm strip recognition...and other such nonsense. Nurses who have left the course knowing no more than when they came in...who passed...and are very scary! In my last ACLS course...I also saw the "let's get them out of here"...scenario! The last time I felt challenged when I took ACLS was back in 97. This was a course given by a cardiology group....and they didn't rush us at all! We had a HUGE class...and we used the entire day from 8am until after 5pm! The last time I took it...I had let my card expire...trying to find a class, so I had to take the two day course. This was totally NO comparison...we spent a couple hours the first day...and barely more than half the second day. This was taught in 4/01 during the time when they were waiting for the new books. I must say that I had been out of the ICU/ER setting...and most of those in the class were ICU/CCU/ER nurses and several doctors. Maybe the class was more geared toward them ...who knows. I also took BCLS...from an instructor earlier this year...and felt I got more for my money than I did from the ACLS class. I think in trying to make it less stressful....the way ACLS is taught now ...is way too lax!
  8. by   askater11
    Thanks for the comments.

    Our hospital has 8 hours for lecture. The test oral/written is the following day. No open book. Actually they are quite strict. Now that I hear how it is in other facilities I'll have to inquire about that. They give us the ACLS book 1-2 months ahead.

    How long was the "instructor" course? How was that set up? Did you go to different facilities? Did the company pay for renewal of ACLS certification?
  9. by   Otessa
    Brown,

    I know this is a much later post(by years...

    I am an ACLS Instructor and understand what you are saying regarding the thought of "dumbing down" od ACLS. I too ACLS for the first time in 1992 and have been certified ever since. The reality of earlier courses was that people were too scared to do ANYTHING in a code and forget about proper CPR!

    The focus now is on high quality CPR as the foundation for ACLS. Team leading and group dynamics in a code situation. The drugs are just the icing on the cake. Early defibrillation/cardioversion is a focus as well. We don't make it easy-if they don't do what is needed for the ACLS scenarios according to AHA guidelines they are remediated AND there are times when people have NOT passed---and that includes physicians. :redpinkhe
  10. by   former_paramedic
    I have completely lost faith in our medical system. Particularly, emergency medicine.

    I was an EMT-B from 1992-1994 and an EMT-P from 1994-2000. And these new ACLS standards are a joke. I can't even comprehend how this could have ever happened.

    Seven years after I get out of the medical "biz" my wife wants to get into it. So she becomes a patient transporter at a level 20 (<-an obvious exaggeration) trauma center. Some hole in the wall hospital.

    She's ambitious and is doing pre-req's for an RN program. She also tells me that she wants to get ACLS certified. Of course, my first reaction was "honey, that just aint gonna happen." Little did I know that a trained monkey can pass it now.

    So I told her to ask around the hospital and she would see just how hard it really is. To my surprise, everyone (including some old vet nurses) was telling her how hard it used to be and how easy it is now.

    I jump on line to see if what she's telling me is true...and sure enough, it is.

    Granted, because I told her hard ACLS was, she's studied her ass off for the last few months. I have her accurately calling out ekg strips like a pro. I get her to study her algorithms as though she's going to die if she doesn't have it all committed to memory. Why did I even bother? There was no need!

    Apparently, we weren't letting enough idiots in the "ACLS club" so we've dumbed everything down.

    I got out of the EMS biz because of how silly it is on so many levels. There are many good people that work in the business but the business seems to be even worse today then it was back then.

    I'm seriously considering just signing up and paying to take the same ACLS class as my wife. Just walk in like a regular joe off the street and blow everyone else in that class out of the water. Then tell them, "oh yeah...I didn't study for this. In fact, I haven't worked in the business for eight years now. Look at what a joke this has become."
  11. by   Otessa
    Refer to my earlier post
    Last edit by Otessa on Jun 16, '08 : Reason: re-posted
  12. by   PageRespiratory!
    Quote from former_paramedic
    I have completely lost faith in our medical system. Particularly, emergency medicine.

    I was an EMT-B from 1992-1994 and an EMT-P from 1994-2000. And these new ACLS standards are a joke. I can't even comprehend how this could have ever happened.

    Seven years after I get out of the medical "biz" my wife wants to get into it. So she becomes a patient transporter at a level 20 (<-an obvious exaggeration) trauma center. Some hole in the wall hospital.

    She's ambitious and is doing pre-req's for an RN program. She also tells me that she wants to get ACLS certified. Of course, my first reaction was "honey, that just aint gonna happen." Little did I know that a trained monkey can pass it now.

    So I told her to ask around the hospital and she would see just how hard it really is. To my surprise, everyone (including some old vet nurses) was telling her how hard it used to be and how easy it is now.

    I jump on line to see if what she's telling me is true...and sure enough, it is.

    Granted, because I told her hard ACLS was, she's studied her ass off for the last few months. I have her accurately calling out ekg strips like a pro. I get her to study her algorithms as though she's going to die if she doesn't have it all committed to memory. Why did I even bother? There was no need!

    Apparently, we weren't letting enough idiots in the "ACLS club" so we've dumbed everything down.

    I got out of the EMS biz because of how silly it is on so many levels. There are many good people that work in the business but the business seems to be even worse today then it was back then.

    I'm seriously considering just signing up and paying to take the same ACLS class as my wife. Just walk in like a regular joe off the street and blow everyone else in that class out of the water. Then tell them, "oh yeah...I didn't study for this. In fact, I haven't worked in the business for eight years now. Look at what a joke this has become."
    >
    Ever see Dana Carvey's grumpy old man character on SNL? ........"Back in my day"........LOL! I suppose you guys had to walk 20 miles uphill in the snow to get to the class, right!?! You're right in that the class structure has changed, for the better I feel. The most prominent difference I see is that the instructors are genuinely commited to having the students not only learn the principles but truley understand them. As opposed to the instructor merely trying to intimidate the crap out of the students for what seemed to be for no other reason then to stroke thier egos. That being said, if there are classes that people are completing and not learning anything, thats not good at all.
  13. by   Otessa
    "As opposed to the instructor merely trying to intimidate the crap out of the students for what seemed to be for no other reason then to stroke their egos"

    How true! A real code is a team effort. The 'old way' you had to run the code all by yourself,even in the practice sessions. I like the way ACLS teaches the team concept. Much more realistic!
  14. by   medscience
    I have to agree, you do sound like a Grumpy Old Man, and you must have made your wife a nervous wreck! I am all about the new standards, just as the rigid nurses that trained me years ago have come to adapt to new ideas and technology so must I. Working a code alone or working as a team, the concept should not make the potential rescuer so intimidated that they cannot cope. A person should feel they can be in control, and will not have to go it alone, in a professional environment. I always resented the stringent way I was taught because as I worked in the field I found it to be entirely different and a gross exaggeration of the work involved. Yes it is hard and serious business, but why add to already unavoidable stress? I do not know any nurses, Paramedics, emt's etc. with any level of awareness who take their work lightly. And in my experience, we sift out those who are "trained" and still cannot do the work. Thats not a lack of teaching, I have been in plenty of classes twenty years ago and today, that simply can only get the message to the students that want to hear it. With your background and experience you have so much to offer, you should consider going back and adding something to the class instead of going in and gloating and trying to humiliate others, as you said you'd enjoy doing.
    Last edit by medscience on Nov 2, '09 : Reason: This was @ former_paramedic

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