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Anyone who has taken their PALS class:

I am a new RN (5 years as an lvn) going through orientation for my new job in pedi ED. I finished hospital orientation and just met with my director to arrange schedule. She said I have a year to complete PALS, so my question is, is it better to do it now so that I know more right off the bat, or is it one of those classes that you need some experience working in, to do better in the class?

I scheduled myself to take it on march 10th, wondering if It's too soon...?

San Antonio, TX btw :) thanks!!!

sommeil, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC/Rehab.

I think it's too soon but only because you need time to study the PALS book. Give yourself a month if you are busy and working. I took my PALS when I was still a med/surg nurse so I don't think you need experience to do well but you do need to know the material in the book pretty well.

My PALS instructor taught us everything we needed to know. Even if he didn't, I can't imagine studying for a month. March 10 should be fine, and I'd probably suggest taking it as soon as possible. I know nurses that didn't have it be for orientation was over which kept them from a lot of patients. Good luck!

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

Good question. I took it before I started my first PICU job (1997) and found it a little overwhelming. I didn't study nearly enough and was lucky to pass. A month might be a bit much, but when I took it again 3 years ago, it took me 12 hours of uninterrupted time to read through the manual and do the exercises on the CD. In class, the instructors expected us to know the material and be ready to apply it. One of my instructors is on the board that reviews and tweaks both PALS and ACLS - talk about intimidating! I knew he was just waiting for me to mess up. If I were in your shoes, knowing what I know, I'd hold off for 6 months. But that's just me...

Oh man! All different answers! Those that say wait, the reasons are why I was wondering... Those who said do it soon, thats what I was thinking also!

My fiance (also an RN) said that when he did pals, the instructor taught it over 2 days & it would be okay.

I looked in the pals book my director gave me from her office and the cd is missing? Do i need that? I dont want to bother her if i dont have to.

My hope is that pals will help me feel more prepared than i currently feel. More confident to help the kids... If i fail it, can i retake it this year? I'd rather take it and learn somethimg to help me this year and if need be, take it again knowing i'd pass at end of year. you know?

NotReady4PrimeTime, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PCVICU and peds oncology. Has 25 years experience.

I hear what you're saying, Gina. Learning the content is really important, and I truly don't believe that it's actually TAUGHT in the 2 day PALS course. It's reviewed. The afternoon of the second day is entirely taken up with the mega-code portion of the testing, where each candidate is the person running the code, based on the scenarios covered in the book and run through in the class. You don't know what scenario will be given to you for the mega-code unless you're the very last person in the group to go. After everyone has run their mega-code, you write the exam. Last time I took the full course there were some nurses from outside the PICU taking it and because they're very rarely exposed to codes, they had a much harder time both grasping and applying the knowledge. Just how many codes happen in the ED you're joining? The first PICU I worked on I believe I saw maybe 4 in the whole 5 years I was there. As a brand new ED nurse you're not going to be assigned to the trauma/resus room for a long time. That's a responsibility given to the more senior staff. But if you don't have to pay for the course, I don't see why you couldn't do it in March as planned and see what happens. If you're paying say $500 for the course, then I'd say wait.

I hear what you're saying' date=' Gina. Learning the content is really important, and I truly don't believe that it's actually TAUGHT in the 2 day PALS course. It's reviewed. [/quote']

I totally agree with that. As an LPN finishing my RN this May, I took both ACLS and PALS before even graduating, and while the certification is definitely helpful on the job regardless of where you are, it does take some prep work. You need to have at least a basic understanding of ECG strips, pharmacology, and other things in the course BEFORE you go in in order to really succeed. Sure, you could skip them and figure it out during the 2-day course, but you get MUCH more out of it with a few days of review on your own time to be familiar with the algorithms and applications in the course first.

Though I highly doubt you'd need an extensive period of time to prep. I took a few days before mine to go over the handbook, review confusing terms, and be familiar with the processes, and it was fine. The instructors were also very helpful.

I just took my PALS a few days ago. Just review the book, and concentrate on the algorithms. A basic knowledge on ecg reading will help you a lot. And you must be able to identify the different types of shock and airway obstructions. Just listen to the instructor and participate in the mega code..you'll do just fine. ;)