As most of us probably know, theory and practice are radically different. It's wonderful if your facility makes ACLS an option for all staff to get. Should it be mandatory? Probably not. Unless you use it, you truly lose it. I have seen nurses who've had ACLS for years (but never/rarely had to use it) completely gap mentally during a code...the worst possible time to not remember what you're doing. When you couple a med-surg RN who's been in one code a year with a resident/intern who happens to pick the short straw that month, the pt will suffer. Our facility uses nurses from the ICU's to cover codes, dividing the hospital between the 3 ICU's. That way we have code savy nurses responding and if there's more than one code, the other icu can back us up. Codes are already difficult situations, inexperience makes it worse. Working a code is more than just getting an ACLS card. For the pt's sake, it takes an experienced nurse to strongly suggest/guide the resident's orders. Otherwise you end up pushing any drug that you have, shocking asystole (pointless) and ending up with the same dismal outcome unless you're lucky that night.
I think we should all be doing excellent CPR before worrying about ACLS. I'm all for every nurse having ACLS, but it shouldn't be forced upon us. If everyone is required to have it, the concept of a code team or having specific units respond could vanish...outcome poor! Get your ACLS and then you can have some idea how to help out in a code, what to expect, etc. No offense, but if I drop in the hospital, I want people who run codes every week working on me over those who do it say once or twice a year.
And to the poster who said that if you can't handle a code, find somewhere else to work (I paraphrase)...Some RN's are really good at pt care, not at critical situations. That's why they choose to work med-surg, etc. and not er/icu. I'm an ICU/ER RN...I love the rush of crisis, but I know it's not for everybody.
Hope you can take this in stride...If you can't, I'm OK with that too..