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Help - taking ACLS for the first time

Nurses   (27,176 Views 13 Comments)
by htrn htrn (Member)

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Hi all,

I am taking ACLS in a couple of weeks and am scared to death. Just blew about $100 on EKG books and ACLS for dummies and am now about 1/2 way through the actual course book.

Does anyone have any advice. I don't know much about reading rhythms. I'm an OB nurse - I can read EFM strips, not EKGs.

Any advice, references, study tips would be greatly appreciated.

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RazorbackRN is a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics (Burn ICU, CVICU).

394 Posts; 5,324 Profile Views

Study your drugs and know your shockable rhythms.

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56 Posts; 1,509 Profile Views

The majority of ACLS programs help walk you through the process. It seems intimidating initially but it all starts to come together. As razorback mentioned know your drugs and basic rhythms.

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29 Posts; 2,583 Profile Views

First, take a deep breath!

Any decent ACLS program is there to teach you, not drill you. They are good at walking you through the steps. Remember your algorhythms. Remember your med doses and shockable rhythms. And relax.

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Blee O'Myacin is a BSN, RN and specializes in ED, ICU, Heme/Onc.

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Don't shock a flat line. ;)

And don't worry - you'll be fine. Just look at it this way. The person "coding" is starting off, well, dead. So learn your rhythms and first line meds and it will all come together.

Relax and have fun with it - the simulations are there so you can learn. Where else can you pretend to intubate someone in the frozen foods section of the supermarket (my scenario in the "megacode")? I always think of that when pushing mag. on someone in torsades.

Blee

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when you see flat line...don't shock like the movies do. Flat means dead...so push your meds and do "high quality CPR" until time is called. You'll have one pt die in your megacode practice/exam. Know the 4 lethal ECG. Like VF, VT, Asystole, PEA (pulseless electrical arrest).

I took the course today and it is easier than I thought but it is still very stressful when you have to run code agmonst your peers. Written exam is less stressful because it's on paper. But what comes out of your mouth is very important.

Make sure you have taken a recent BCLS class with the AHA. This will help tremendously.

Don't expect them to stop to answer questions about med or rhythm because you need to know your algorythms. Bradycardia, PEA, VT/VF.

No worries about the atrial stuff. People live lives with atrial rhythmic problems. Send those pt to consult.

30:2 breaths...6-8sec per breath when intubated, 100 deep recoiled compressions per minute.

Good Luck. I'll let you know tomorrow if we passed. We are all nervous. Even the tenured nurses. There was a single guy that studied the entire book front to back and probably did role plays with his other GNs. But he was good. My brain needs a fire underneath it. Right out of school your better taking ACLS...I think because after you get alot alot of experience you'll start questioning the AHA guidlines and say stuff like "we don't do that at our hospital"

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Passed today :lol2:. Missed one question. Didn't even stay to look at what question because I was glad to get home. Hurray.

Anyway, I'd over study then just briefly flip through the book. We had about 8 insructors in our class and depending on which one you get makes or breaks your test. One of the instr. kept getting me with Regular Sinus Brady, no pacer available, and minutes later your patient goes to pacing to defib VF and then VT and then sysytole (don't shock :nono:).

Just study the study guide. Also know the doses. Maybe some people thought it was simple but our class seemed very chaotic and rushed in the codes. Beeping , syringes, running back and forth and they made us work up a good tachy ourselves..

:balloons:

Good Luck!

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Debbie, RN has 19 years experience and specializes in Labor & Delivery.

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Thanks for all these posts regarding taking ACLS for the first time. I've been an OB Rn for 19 years and never needed to know cardiac rhythms (although we do recover our own patients after C-Sections), all we ever see is healthy hearts. I'm now trying a change and working prn at an Ambulatory Surg center where ACLS is required. Thanks for the study tips. I'm also very afraid of failing but I'll be sure to study the algorythms and the meds. Please Wish me luck!

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CaLLaCoDe is a BSN, RN and specializes in Cardiology, Oncology, Medsurge.

1,173 Posts; 10,864 Profile Views

the best investment by far for your money:

acls review (made incredibly easy line of books)

i even found the book helpful to understanding telemetry nursing and interpreting rythms!

good luck!

ps. don't panic with acls. know this: your evaluators want you to pass! they are there to guide you through the mega code not doom you to fail. you're not expected to know everything as in the old school acls. acls is user friendly ;-)

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