I just graduated and I took an ACLS course. It's very doable. I had a job interview
for a critical care residency before I'd actually taken the course that went well, so I can't tell if it helped me or not. They told me, "We require ACLS within a year of employment" and I replied, "I'm scheduled to take an ACLS course next week!" They smiled. I think the most you can really hope for with this certification is to prove that you are a passionate learner and that you will put in extra time and effort. I don't know that as a new grad it will help you in any way beyond that. Anyway, I did get that job, so who knows!
I honestly recommend it anyway just for the learning experience. I'm very glad I've taken it because now I feel like I will really know what is going on in a code and I will be a lot more helpful than if I was just confused about what was going to happen next, and this will be very relevant for me because I got hired in a MICU. If you are not planning to work in an area that sees frequent codes, it may be less helpful for you.
My advice for you if you decide to do it is to get a book well in advance of your test date, at least a month. I only got my book a week ahead and I was literally studying for hours a day. There is a lot of information in that book. You don't need to know it cover to cover for the class, but like I said it is very useful information. If you are still feeling overwhelmed, there are good internet resources for helping you. I used ACLS-Algorithms.com
to study in the few days before the test. Yes, you do pay for access to the site, but they have a lot of review questions and a lot of megacode scenarios to help you prepare. I learn well through taking practice quizzes so I thought it was worth the $10 I put into it. I would also recommend using the SkillStat ECG Simulator
, which is free, to help you get your rhythms down if you didn't cover them in detail in nursing school
. I used these two resources and I breezed through the megacode and was the only person in the class to pass the written test with 100%, which is funny because I was the only nursing student in the room and everyone else was an experienced nurse. I hope this information was helpful.