PALS Certification

  1. Hi All,

    I'm a new med surg nurse. I have the PALS certification coming up and honestly I'm scared to death! I bought the online version of American Heart Association's PALS course. Now I just have the testing part. I've read the manual and am reading it again because there's so much information that it's overwhelming. I'm studying the algorithms and trying to memorize drugs and dosages. I'm wondering if I'm mistaken though about something. Do I need to know all the drugs and all the dosages?? For one thing, I don't think I can memorize all of them. For another, is it really necessary? Should I just know in general when a med is used and why? I feel like I'm cluttering my brain with all this info and then in the moment I'm going to freeze. Any advice or help from anyone is appreciated!!!!!!
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    About newmedsurgnurse

    Joined: Jul '15; Posts: 5

    21 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    Curious why you are taking PALS; do you work in adult Med/Surg or Peds Med/Surg?
  4. by   Ruger8mm
    PALS is something we all should be proficient in. It's actually easy. Just focus on cardiac meds and rhythm assessments. The algorithms are pretty self explanatory.

    Definately know Epinephrine, Adenosine, Atropine, Dopamine, and Mag Sulfate.
  5. by   newmedsurgnurse
    I work in a small rural hospital. Usually we see adults, but the other experienced nurses have taken care of kids as young as 15 months old. It's required of all the RNs.
  6. by   newmedsurgnurse
    Thanks for the advice Wade. It seems complicated to me but I hope the class is easy! I will be sure to memorize those drugs.
  7. by   SierraBravo
    Quote from Wade B
    PALS is something we all should be proficient in. It's actually easy. Just focus on cardiac meds and rhythm assessments. The algorithms are pretty self explanatory.

    Definately know Epinephrine, Adenosine, Atropine, Dopamine, and Mag Sulfate.



    I disagree. Unless you work with pediatric patients, there is little use for PALS. I have BLS and ACLS and never have I been in a situation where I wished I knew PALS, too. Then again, I work with adults.
  8. by   Ruger8mm
    You've never been in a mall or watching a kids soccer game? Those skills would come in very handy even without meds or definitive airway equipment on hand.
  9. by   Nurse Leigh
    Pretty sure BLS teaches what we need to know for emergencies in the field before EMS arrives.

    Effective chest compressions are of utmost importance until someone locates and delivers an AED.
  10. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Quote from Wade B
    You've never been in a mall or watching a kids soccer game? Those skills would come in very handy even without meds or definitive airway equipment on hand.
    All is covered in BLS & basic first aid. You don't have a cardiac monitor, airway management, ALS drugs, IV access. I can manage pediatric emergencies until EMS/medics arrive with BLS & a first aid kit. Basic BLS, CPR, AED, ice, gauze & a stocked first aid kit as well as a charged cell phone have gotten me through many emergencies.


    The OP needs PALS per her employer.
  11. by   Aspie
    I am also taking PALS soon for the 1st time.
    Any study tips?
    The book is very strange... Usually there are case studies, exercises, post-tests, critical thinking questions at the end of each chapter. And here... just dry text.

    Do you know of any good study guides?

    I took NRP and the text was awesome. This one is not user-friendly.
  12. by   ~PedsRN~
    I'm trying to think back when I got my initial certification - I know i didn't memorize anything!!! The course was a million hours long and they really walked you through it.

    I agree with the posters that there is really very little need for PALs in the real world. BLS is sufficient unless you work inpatient pediatrics.
  13. by   oldandintheway
    Okay I lost my awesome response, PALS, I bet what scares you is leading the MEGA CODE. Here is what is going to happen, you will be chosen to lead a team in a vignette. You will have one shock scenario that transitions to a cardiac scenario that if you do ok will resolve to ROSC. Shock will start p
  14. by   oldandintheway
    ]Okay I lost my awesome response, PALS, I bet what scares you is leading the MEGA CODE. Here is what is going to happen, you will be chosen to lead a team in a vignette. You will have one shock scenario that transitions to a cardiac scenario that if you do ok will resolve to ROSC. Shock will start as either Hypovolemic, Distributive,Cardiogenic, or Obstructive,each has a few subtypes but learn to recognize the and you are gold.
    The shocks will transition to cardiac cases. The is only one Brady, SVT (non-shockable) (cardiovertable), PCT and A-Fib, and PEA/Asystole (non-shockable). Only a few meds, atropine, epi, epi, amiodirone, epi, amiodirone, epi, epi, and epi. Helpful to remember NS by the bunch, diphenhydramine, and a splash of iontropes, if you catch my drift. Make page 107 your friend.
    If inclined learn the classes of the meds, which are catecholimines, antiandenrgics, etc. than the use becomes automatic through all the class ACLS, PALS, NNRP.
    SO AFTER ALL THAT JUST REMEMBER THE 4 TYPES OF SHOCKS AND 4-5 RYTHMS. you'll be gold just remember page 107 and the algorithms, the written test is just retention of the videos and critical thinking.

    Sorry for the wordiness, but there is a lot in the book that will make you chase your tail.

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