Taking ACLS for the first time

  1. I'm taking ACLS for the first time this month and I'm getting a bit nervous.

    At my old job, the floor nurses were the code team. I've been in quite a few codes doing various roles...recording, pushing the drugs, med cart, etc. so I'm not unfamiliar with the goings-on of a code.

    I know the American Heart Association recently revamped the program making it more role based, but I'm still a bit freaked.

    So how bad is it really?? Am I just being a nervous nelly??

    Thanks for your input in advance! :kiss
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  2. 17 Comments

  3. by   RNforLongTime
    I took it for the first time too last month. I was really nervous because as a new Critical Care RN--I HAD to pass! But it wasn't as hard as I thought it was gonna be. The nursing education instructors at my facility are so laid back and that made it easier. Good Luck! You'll do just fine.
  4. by   Stormy
    So long as you go to the course well prepared, you should be fine. It is usually the people who have not dedicated adequate preparation time to the course that don't do well. Typically, nurses come to the courses well prepared. The docs on the other hand, have not learned what it takes. Most students that we make redo a course, or portion thereof, are usually docs.

    Good luck! I am sure you will do fine. Don't sweat it.

    Am interested to know how many people have to take ACLS as a requirement of their job?
  5. by   Ted
    Just recently took a ACLS re-cert course. Have to have ACLS for my current job.

    The re-cert course was quite easy. Maybe a little bit too easy, in my humble opinion.

    Like what people have posted before, if your prepared, you should do fine.

    Good Luck!

    Ted
  6. by   RNforLongTime
    At my hospital, ACLS is mandatory if you work in ICU or ER.
  7. by   neneRN
    I just took it for the first time in August (it's required to work in our ER) It wasn't bad- it's supposed to be a lot more student friendly now than in past years. The instructors want you to pass- they're not out to get you. I felt so much more comfortable after taking it.
    I took it on a weekend- when I came back to work on Monday, I had three codes in that one shift. I think I ran through every rhythym/drug I had learned!
  8. by   Agnus
    neneRN is correct. I took it the first time 2 years ago as a brand new LPN. I renewed this year as a RN. They have made it a lot more student friendly. Just prepare.
  9. by   jules-RN
    thank you!!! thank you!!! thank you!!!

    you've all made me feel better. :d

    ted was wondering about who has acls as a requirement for their job...

    my old job was in medical/respiratory with a step-down unit. acls was not required, but neither was an aha cpr card. they would basically ask you during manditory training if you new how to do adult cpr and that was it. and you had to record a mock code.

    my new job is in a telemetry/cardiac step down type floor (we do a heck of a lot more than the cardiac step down at my old job). we are considered to be critical care, so we are clustered with the er and micu/sicu. we also rotate the code beeper between er, micu/sicu, and us. so it's obvious why we need acls.

    thanks again for all the replies!!! i do appreciate it.
  10. by   4XNURSE
    jules_RN,

    Remember this: If you are by yourself, you CAN NOT do ACLS. You have to be part of a team.

    As an ACLS instructor I look for my students to have the basics down, and to be able to participate as part of a team.

    Yes, you need to be prepared. That holds true for any learning situation. Be prepared to learn, and to share. You'll do just fine!

    just my $ .02

    ken
  11. by   mattsmom81
    ACLS was a bear the first time I took it..about 17 years ago...it seems to get easier every year, which is good in one sense...it should be challenging but not overwhelming (as it was in the beginning) but not as oversimplified as it has been the last few times I've tested.

    I need to recert this year and heard it has changed quite a bit(again)....have the drugs changed or just the methods? Just curious..haven't worked for 6 months so am out of the loop! LOL!

    I do wish they wouldn't put so much stock in intubating...as that is one thing I would never attempt...if the doc or anesthetist can't get it in I'd let the RRT try before I would. Too much liability IMHO.

    ACLS is a requirement in all the critical care areas(ICU, PCU, ER, and areas like cath lab) in my part of the country. Hospitals do reimburse for it. PALS is required in most ER's as well as in pedi units of all types.
  12. by   Jay Levan
    They have made this course so much more "User Friendly" I have been ACLS qualified for eight years now and each time I went for the training and certification, I was also very nervous and now I feel that as long as they continue in this direction, all of us who need this qualification will be able to get it bi-annually That is very important to "Old Farts" like me Study your drugs and algorhythms, and do not be afraid to ask for help There are several "Online" ACLS help engines, search for "ACLS" in your browser.
  13. by   Stormy
    There are some drug changes with the new standards. Some new drugs in the line up are Vasopressin and Amiodarone. Bretylium has vanished. The tachy algorithm looks like a nightmare when first approached, but once you tackle it and simplify it a bit, its not so bad.

    I agree. There is a strong focus on airway management, including confirmation of tube placement and securing the airway.

    There are some differences in Canadian standards vs US standards, but I am not sure exactly what they are.
  14. by   ERNurse752
    I'm required to have ACLS for my job...
    Took it for the first time around August I think. Got sweaty but I passed.
    I wish I would have waited longer to take it though...I became an RN in July, and finished up my internship and went to the ER full-time in October. I think I could have gotten more out of it it I'd waited, since I've been in more codes now.
    Oh well...I can always go back through it on my own! (it's the thought that counts, right???)

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Taking ACLS for the first time