ACLS before getting a Job

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    What are your thoughts on getting your ACLS before you start looking for a job. I was thinking of doing it bc I thought it might look good on a resume, I don't plan on working with Peds so I was not really thinking of the PALS but I wanted to know what other people had hear or thought?

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  2. 11 Comments...

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    I have had a job that requires ACLS. I've taken it so many times that it's almost a merit badge course to me. It's a good cert to have, but unless you're going for a job that requires it, I'd hold off. Now when I'm done with school, I'll be renewing my ALS certs because I'll be going back to that previous job that requires it and I'll be going for nursing jobs that might require the certifications. That's my take on things. Only you truly know your situation and what kinds of nursing jobs you'll be going for. It very well absolutely could be something that makes sense for you to get your ACLS cert now.

    Having ACLS certification most likely won't be something that hinders you... If you have the money to take the course, at worst, you'll be out about $250, at best it'll be something that helps you get a job. Of course, you will be the what they base their decision on, but the cert might make the decision to hire you easier. Another thing to remember is that sometimes employers will pay for you to take the course if your job requires it and the hire you into that position without the cert. This will probably become less and less common for quite a while... until nursing experiences another shortage and they have to hire many new nurses to fill vacancies.
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    I would hold off.

    It looks good on a resume, but will it necessarily make you stand out? Not really. Not to mention that ACLS is expensive, so I would rather wait and do the course through my employer which is oftentimes free (or at VERY LITTLE cost to you).

    And not every job requires ACLS. Where I work, the nurses in progressive care, ICU & ER need to have ACLS within 6 months of hire. ER nurses also need PALS. I'm pretty sure cath lab and PACU need ACLS & PALS, too. The med-surg floors, however, do not require ACLS, just BLS.
  5. 0
    Quote from atucker86
    What are your thoughts on getting your ACLS before you start looking for a job. I was thinking of doing it bc I thought it might look good on a resume, I don't plan on working with Peds so I was not really thinking of the PALS but I wanted to know what other people had hear or thought?
    The teachers at my school are certified and were able to teach and certify us. I say if you have the time and money, you should do it. Perhaps it won't give you a real leading edge above someone else not having it, but I do think it shows initiative and willingness to learn. My theory is that there is so much to learn starting a new job, why not have this under your belt. Also doing it while you even remember the algorithms and drugs is a bonus. Even if you get hired on a floor where you won't use it, it is information - that won't be money wasted. I am not sure where I will end up after graduation, but I am happy to know that I am prepared either way... And what company doesn't like that? Best wishes!
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    If you can get into a good ACLS class, go for it... not so much for the certification but rather for the learning.

    My first ACLS and renewal were taught by a group of highly experienced medics who had tons of war stories... and I learned so much from them.

    At my current job, ACLS is taught by the ER docs. Again, the algorithms are pretty simple but spending two days in a lecture with an experienced ER doc is very valuable in my opinion.

    It's not likely to make any difference in getting hired, however.
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    If I were a hiring manager and I had a new grad who had taken ACLS I would roll my eyes, and think, "Who's she trying to kid?" So much of knowing how to use it is experience-based. A new grad with an ACLS card is like a fish with a bicycle (to butcher Florence's famous quote), and for the same reason-- she won't know how to use it. Seriously-- you think you'll be able to walk into a code situation and fall right into work because you passed that test five months ago as a student? Call me in a year and let me know what you think about that.

    You won't learn as much from taking the course now as you will after you've been at work a few months. Your employer will send you to the course if it's required, and probably pay you for the time as well.

    I think this is all of a piece with "I'm going to work for a year and go to CRNA school/NP school/CNL school." Patience, dear, patience. You have a long working life ahead of you. Take the time to really learn and absorb. Cramming in every merit badge so you can earn Eagle at 14, while theoretically possible, yields immature Eagles. The 18-year-olds are better ones.
    ♪♫ in my ♥ likes this.
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    It adds attractiveness points in your resume because its one less thing the facility spends on you.
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    Quote from GrnTea
    If I were a hiring manager and I had a new grad who had taken ACLS I would roll my eyes, and think, "Who's she trying to kid?" So much of knowing how to use it is experience-based. A new grad with an ACLS card is like a fish with a bicycle (to butcher Florence's famous quote), and for the same reason-- she won't know how to use it. Seriously-- you think you'll be able to walk into a code situation and fall right into work because you passed that test five months ago as a student? Call me in a year and let me know what you think about that.

    You won't learn as much from taking the course now as you will after you've been at work a few months.

    Though the truth is, you won't really get it until you've been there a couple of times.

    I'm chuckling because my first code saw me as the *only* nurse in the room. Talk about trial by fire. Afterwards, my tech said to me, "well, that wasn't nearly as big a cluster%&*# as I expected."

    Cramming in every merit badge so you can earn Eagle at 14, while theoretically possible, yields immature Eagles. The 18-year-olds are better ones.
    Where were you when I was a 14-year-old scout?
  10. 0
    I would recommend getting acls certified if you can afford it. I did right after nclex and it helped me. It shows initiative and a desire to learn.
  11. 0
    Quote from GrnTea
    If I were a hiring manager and I had a new grad who had taken ACLS I would roll my eyes, and think, "Who's she trying to kid?" So much of knowing how to use it is experience-based. A new grad with an ACLS card is like a fish with a bicycle (to butcher Florence's famous quote), and for the same reason-- she won't know how to use it. Seriously-- you think you'll be able to walk into a code situation and fall right into work because you passed that test five months ago as a student? Call me in a year and let me know what you think about that.

    You won't learn as much from taking the course now as you will after you've been at work a few months. Your employer will send you to the course if it's required, and probably pay you for the time as well.

    I think this is all of a piece with "I'm going to work for a year and go to CRNA school/NP school/CNL school." Patience, dear, patience. You have a long working life ahead of you. Take the time to really learn and absorb. Cramming in every merit badge so you can earn Eagle at 14, while theoretically possible, yields immature Eagles. The 18-year-olds are better ones.
    This depends how great the teachers were who taught the class. We (as students) are only as good as the teachers who went the extra mile to make the absolute best of our time. We rotated through SIM labs, patient scenarios, played lead positions in which we anticipated meds/ amounts - according to the rhythm we saw on the monitor etc. The class was not based on reading a book and passing a test. Having the card is " not kidding" anyone by any means. I am confident I could go into a code and assist in any position. (I would not stand in the corner of the room to watch or observe, like some students are told.) Our critical care rotation was at a level one trauma (Pittsburgh,PA). Our students went into code situations and participated in CPR / codes almost daily. (ICU, CVICU, trauma -burn, and ER). Not one of our students ever acted "like a fish with a bicycle". If I was a patient and in an arrest situation.... I would chose a student with prior experience and knowledge versus someone who waited for someone else to tell them it was time to think about taking it. To the student with the original question....Get the experience if you can. It may just save a life. Do not wait for anyone to tell you it is the right time, - or pretend it does not matter. Take the class, especially if it is offered. It is offered to students for a reason. Be prepared in your career and take the initiative.


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