ACLS skills session - any insight

  1. Hi there,

    I am a new RN and signed up to take my ACLS "skills session" in a week (this is a hybrid course, online prep work and then in-person skills checkoff). I have been doing all of the online prep, memorizing the algorithms, and walking through the case studies and practice exams.

    My question is for those of you who have taken a hybrid online/skills session type course: what all is involved in the skills session? Specifically, will i be "placing an IV" on a manikin, intubating, pushing actual "drugs" into the manikin, hooking up the 12-lead...?

    I know these seem like silly questions, but I've never hooked up an IV or intubated and just want to take proper time to prep ahead of time if I will be doing those parts during the actual checkoff.

    And yes, I know - I know I'm taking on a big challenge trying to pass as a new grad - but I am already signed up for the session and I am committed to giving it my best. Please don't be unkind and tell me I'm an idiot and completely screwed.

    Thanks for any insight on what I should prepare for during the megacode checkoff!
    Katharine
  2. Visit GimletMinnesota profile page

    About GimletMinnesota, RN

    Joined: Mar '16; Posts: 6; Likes: 1
    from MN , US
    Specialty: 1 year(s) of experience

    10 Comments

  3. by   HeySis
    Not sure what to look for in the online skills session... mainly due to not knowing if you'll be with a group of people or not. When we do ACLS in person in a group, we run the mock code as a group the same number of times as we have number of people... that way each person gets to "lead" the code and assign roles to each person. Others in the group are normally allowed to help you out. We are given a scenario... 24 year old at baseball game and ball hits hi in chest and you witness him go down.... go. You do your BLS screening (ABC's) if no respiratory or heart rate then do basic CPR, if you have breathing and respiration's hook up the cardiac monitor and read the rhythm and follow the proper algorithm. We normally voice I would place an IV, we normally have to get the meds out of the crash cart and pretend to give IV while stating what we are giving and the dosage.

    This is way different then how it was done 20 years ago when I first became ACLS certified... back then You went into the code by yourself and had to do/say what you would do, for each and every rhythm/scenario they gave you... no back ups.

    Another change I noted was we use to have to show intubation skills and pass it off, now We are told it is out of the RN scope of practice so we no longer pass that off, it's just briefly reviewed.

    Hope this helps,
  4. by   peripateticRN
    Hi Gimlet,

    I'm pretty sure the skills sessions are just an opportunity to learn and understand the rhythms. In my class we didn't have these sessions, but I know they were offered through another organization in town.
    You will be fine - ACLS is not that tough - I took it about 6 months out of school. Just know your rhythms and be familiar with the algorithms. You are there to learn and not expected to know everything when you walk in the door. On our course we essentially spent the majority of the 2 days just working through codes. The megacode is pretty chill - We did a code with every person in the class as leader (I think there were 7 of us)... so by the time your code rolls around its pretty ingrained. No stress involved.

    Good luck!
  5. by   Wuzzie
    Quote from peripateticRN
    Hi Gimlet,

    I'm pretty sure the skills sessions are just an opportunity to learn and understand the rhythms. In my class we didn't have these sessions, but I know they were offered through another organization in town.
    You will be fine - ACLS is not that tough - I took it about 6 months out of school. Just know your rhythms and be familiar with the algorithms. You are there to learn and not expected to know everything when you walk in the door. On our course we essentially spent the majority of the 2 days just working through codes. The megacode is pretty chill - We did a code with every person in the class as leader (I think there were 7 of us)... so by the time your code rolls around its pretty ingrained. No stress involved.

    Good luck!
    The skills session IS the mega code. There is no classroom session with the on-line certification. I don't recommend it for first timers because of this. No opportunity to ask questions or clarify information.
  6. by   akulahawkRN
    In ACLS, the skills session and the megacode is the same thing. The best way you can be sure of passing the megacode is knowing how to do CPR effectively and to AHA standard, know the rhythms and the algorithms. Be prepared to see multiple rhythm changes that could change the algorithm you use. It is possible that you see a change where you don't do much but monitor the patient. So be cognizant of the possibility that you could do "nothing" for or to the patient for a while. However, because they do want you do be able to apply what you have learned, I guarantee you'll be doing the full-tilt ACLS boogie for a bit.
  7. by   AnnieOaklyRN
    As others have said you will be doing a megapode. They want to make sure you know the rhythms and what to do for them. Generally you will start off with a patient who has a pulse and that patient will deteriorate to SVT, bradycardia, and vfib/vtach. They want to know that you know when and how to give medications, cardiovert, and pace.

    Good luck .

    Annie
  8. by   applewhitern
    Years ago, we had to intubate, place an IO catheter into a chicken leg, etc., but as far as I know, these skills have been removed from ACLS. The last few times I recertified, we no longer intubated. Also the mega-code used to be one-on-one, you were all alone, but now it is done in a group.
  9. by   kp2016
    Over years I have done the full two day initial ACLs, the one day renewal and the skills check. Depending on where you do it the skills check can be as quick as 60 minutes. You demonstrate CPR, bag mouth breathing and lead a mega code- tell the others what to do and when.
    I really enjoyed the online part as you can redo the codes as many times as you like until they are textbook perfect or just fly through and pass if time is short and this isn't new information. Don't worry about the skills check it really isn't hard especially if the online material is still fresh in your mind.
    As a side note I would say the interaction with other experienced providers in the traditional classes is more beneficial to people who are new to ACLs than the online option.
  10. by   GimletMinnesota
    This is all really helpful, thank you so much. I hope my instructor/group is laid back, as some of you mentioned. But I guess I won't know until Friday. I feel pretty solid on the algorithms, so I guess it's just a matter of if I can transfer that to doing it "hands on" and not just with these fun Am. Heart Assn video game type scenarios. I'll post a follow-up here to let you know if I passed. I saw that if I don't, I can re-do the skills session in the next month without having to pay again. That is my only solace at the moment. THANK YOU again! So, so helpful to get some insight.
  11. by   sallyrnrrt
    If I passed it as respitory therapist student,

    & then again as ER nurse,Chou will be fine....

    It is done as a team....
    Last edit by sallyrnrrt on Feb 6 : Reason: Sp
  12. by   GimletMinnesota
    Hello! Just wanted to post an update and let everyone know that I passed the Skill Test Out this morning. I was probably a little hyper-prepared as far as the algorithms went (the guy said so anyway). But the rest went smoothly - just kept calm and walked through the steps methodically, reflecting whatever changes were happening with the patient. Thank you all for the insight and support! I'm so glad I did it.

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