Should I take the ACLS, PALS, and EKG as a 2nd semester student?

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    hi everyone,

    i need anadvice on when should i take the acls, pals, and ekg classes. i am in a 2 year associate degree nursing program and i just finish one semester last december. do you think i should take the acls, pals, ekg, and nrp classes during my second semester? i heard that those classes can be a bit challenging if i don't have enough knowledge or a newbies in nursing. for instance, someone said that for the ekg classes, it's better if i know the cardiac dysrhythmias and meds and i don't i took pharmacology and knows a lot of meds, but when it comes to the cardiovascular system, i know little about it. i read countless of threads about the acls and pals classes on this website, but most of people who asked those questions are either almost finish their nursing program or is working. any input is welcome !

    thanks.
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  3. 9 Comments so far...

  4. 2
    I would say that it is definitely unnecessary to take ACLS and PALS at this point, but EKG interpretation class wouldn't hurt... I don't think taking the EKG interpretation class is going to make a huge impact on your education or job outlook when you are ready but it is good to know some of the basics because in clinicals you will have monitored patients and it is something you can actually apply to what you are doing in clinicals, you can practice reading rhythm strips and you never know what you might notice that others may overlook. I took ACLS at the end of my Associate program and it didn't do me a dang bit of good, it still took a year and a half to get a job even with a ton of hospital experience and I ended up in a job that doesn't require it anyways so I won't be renewing unless I change jobs and need it someday. If I had to participate in a code which I have yet to do, I don't think that the ACLS I took almost 2 years ago is going to do me any good, so just wait until you are ready to work and if you have a potential job that will require it then do those classes then.
    kdbean530 and JustBeachyNurse like this.
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    Hmmmm? I'm guessing things must be alot different wherever you are, than where I am. I just completed and ADN program. I took none of those classes. Furthermore, those classes, if required, are provided by the hospitals in my area, and are not necessary to obtain a job in lets say, ICU or ED......you just need certification within 6 months to a year. Do you feel they will be necessary to overcome a competitive job market in your area? If not, I wouldn't bother.
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    Hmmmm? I'm guessing things must be alot different wherever you are, than where I am. I just completed and ADN program. I took none of those classes. Furthermore, those classes, if required, are provided by the hospitals in my area, and are not necessary to obtain a job in lets say, ICU or ED......you just need certification within 6 months to a year. Do you feel they will be necessary to overcome a competitive job market in your area? If not, I wouldn't bother.
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    Here is why I would take the EKG but not take any of the others. It will keep you out of trouble.

    The knowledge that these classes will teach you will give you information that is hanging out there without a lot of other information to "cocoon" it. In other words you see STV in an infant and you know the protocol yet the physician decides to wait 10, 15 minutes before acting on that protocol. Bring the nice eager nurse you are, armed with ACLS / PALS you say...hey doc, why are you not giving the med / cardioverting this child. Opps, you just stepped into a mess that you had no business being in....all from asking a question.

    To me, this falls into learning to walk before you need to run. Take the EKG, learn that for it is the basis for all of the advance life support down the road, as well as a possible entryway position into a tele floor. But way a while longer to take the rest.

    Just a thought
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    ive been wonering this as well.. i graduate in 7 months.. would it be benificial to get acls/pals before i graduate, especially if im interested in peds and icu?
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    At my school it was really beneficial to take PALS before Peds because the same instructor taught both classes. For EKG and ACLS, it is recommended to do it before preceptorship if you want to be in ICU/ED. So, it depends on what your nursing goals are. For me, I want to end up on a critical care unit so I took ACLS, PALS, and an EKG class--but not all in the same semester.
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    I am a second semester student, and I will be taking ACLS in March. I have prior ED/ICU experience, so the material isn't that great of a leap for me. With enough study anyone can pass ACLS, as it is mostly simple memorization. I want to land an ICU new grad residency, and I need ACLS to be as competitive as possible when applying. PALS, on the other hand, is a different beast entirely. Unless you want to work PICU or pediatric ED, then don't bother with PALS. I think the material is much harder than ACLS, and it is only designed for pediatric patients. An EKG course may be beneficial to you, but ACLS has an EKG interpretation component with it.
    kdbean530 likes this.
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    I know this is off point but I'm going to hijac the thread before I answer. Why are students taking ACLS, PALS, NRP when those are very specific certifications for working very specific areas. I guess basic EKG is OK but none of these others make sense unless you are going to work in nthat area. I guess you could argue that ACLS would be helpful anywhere because any patient could code...but when did it become such a hot ticket class in nursing school...

    Is it when the instructors were your professors??? Just VERY curious, seems like a great revenue generator for your professor.
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    Quote from Esme12
    I know this is off point but I'm going to hijac the thread before I answer. Why are students taking ACLS, PALS, NRP when those are very specific certifications for working very specific areas. I guess basic EKG is OK but none of these others make sense unless you are going to work in nthat area. I guess you could argue that ACLS would be helpful anywhere because any patient could code...but when did it become such a hot ticket class in nursing school...

    Is it when the instructors were your professors??? Just VERY curious, seems like a great revenue generator for your professor.
    for me, i just want the certifications before i apply for jobs to gain any kind of edge i can when i start to compete for jobs.


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