1. Hi all. I signed up for an ACLS class this summer. I'm really looking forward to it, what do I need to do to prepare? I have no cardiac background and am a 1st yr nurse. I plan to open up my Med-Surg book, but I didn't really understand rhythm interpretation when I was in school. Any advice would be great.

    Thanks, Donita
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    About HURN

    Joined: Jul '08; Posts: 39; Likes: 12
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 5 year(s) of experience in Med-Surg, Stepdown, Vascular ICU.


  3. by   GOMER42
    Get the ACLS book.
    In the meantime, this site may be of help:
  4. by   chare
    get the book. everything you need to know to pass the course is in the acls provider manual. and do not waste your money on any of the acls help texts on the market. i have not personally reviewed any of these manuals, so they may contain nice to know information, but all of the information required to pass acls comes from the acls provider manual.

    if you want to read deeper than the material contained in the provider manual, the 2005 american heart association guidelines for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and emergency cardiovascular care are all available online. if you opt to review this material, i would not do so until after you have read and have a good understanding of the material in the provider manual.

    don't let people scare you with horror stories of acls from the dark ages. it is no longer the nail biter that is used to be, nor are the instructors out to fail you. you do need to be familiar with the material.

    relax, study the text, and you will do fine. good lucktime in a med surg text preparing for acls because you are probably not going to get what you need for!
  5. by   HeartsOpenWide
    Since BLS is pre-req review that. Also review arrythmias and you should be fine. I liked ECG made easy
  6. by   nerdtonurse?
    Learn the meds.
    Learn the rhythms.
    Main thing with ACLS -- they're already dead, you can't make them worse. has an EKG flashcard set that's good.

    Dale Dubin's book on EKGs is the Bible -- easy to read, easy to understand.
  7. by   RobLPN
    Memorize the algorithms is all you'll need.
  8. by   rentalnurse
    get your handbook from channing bete
    its a little flip book and has all the algorithms easily laid out and it is what you will carry with you at wk too.
  9. by   blondy2061h
    I was given my book before the class, with a checklist of things to do to prepare.
  10. by   moonischasingme1
    Hey, I just took ACLS on Friday. Definitely obviously get the book and do the pre-assessment exam. Then go through the book and memorize (understand) all of the algorithms. The course wasn't as scary as I thought it would be. No one was out to fail us, anyway.
  11. by   Nurse1966
    I just advice, go to the gym!! two minutes of chest compressions doesn't sound like much, but us older gals were sweating! The most important thing is "push hard, push fast". And relax! You made it through school and the NCLEX, you"ll do fine!
  12. by   nminodob
    I did it and it was fun! The pre-course materials covered everything, ours had a cd with EKG rhythm identification, etc. It seems like alot to learn, but remember, they are there to teach you if you don't know and refresh you if you already had ACLS. And don't be afraid to jump in during the practice codes - my group had some NS buddies and we were all rather shy.
    The ACLS course is taught by medics and they are definitely action-oriented people who have seen just about everything in the field - once I started to go with the flow I thought the paramedics were smart, funny, and full of energy.
  13. by   birdgardner
    The main thing is to use the CD-ROM in the books and learn the rhythms there. The ones we saw on the practicals and the written test looked just like them.

    A couple supplemental ekg sites above.

    Your drugs are epi and amiodarone (the big two), vasopressin, lidocaine, adenosine, atropine, dopamine, magnesium, aspirin. Know those cold. MONA, beta-blockers, clopidogrel, tPA, verapamil, diltiazem, know generally. Every pulseless arrest gets epi, epi always gets an antiarrhythmic buddy except for fast PEA.

    The instructors wanted us to pass, helped those having difficulty.
  14. by   MB37
    My class was much easier than I thought it would be, but I did have 6 mo. of CCU experience and already knew all my rhythms. I only studied the ACLS book the hospital lent me - I read through the whole thing, then studied the algorithms. Our instructors wanted us to pass as well, and offered extra help to the pharmacist and the L&D nurse in our class, since they don't look at strips every day.