Congratulations on taking the next step to obtaining your Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification. We encourage you to browse our website and take a closer look at the other pages with useful topics on ACLS classes, ACLS renewal and getting your ACLS certification online.
What is ACLS Certification?
ACLS Certification is required for healthcare professionals who participate or direct in the management of cardiopulmonary emergencies. While first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) are important first-response techniques, they involve little in the way of equipment or medical knowledge and training.
ACLS Certification on the other hand, requires CPR but also more specialized training to handle medical emergencies, like emergency medicine, intensive care and critical units.
ACLS is a step beyond basic life support (BLS), and gives medical professionals the knowledge and skills to make crucial decisions and administer more advanced care. Once ACLS certification is attained, recertification every two years is required to keep the certification active. Medical professionals seeking to obtain certification or recertification for ACLS often have questions regarding the training and process for doing so.
Why You Need an ACLS Certification
While CPR and BLS are crucial for saving lives and beginning the resuscitation process, ACLS is where the real work of lifesaving lies. CPR and BLS are designed to help patients survive until professionals with ACLS skills and equipment arrive. ACLS procedures involve more analysis and more specialized techniques and equipment.
These procedures can include intubation and administering IV’s. You may use advanced equipment to help diagnose and monitor a patient experiencing a medical emergency. You may administer intravenous medications to treat the patient.
Knowing what to do in such emergencies requires specialized skills. Consequently, being able to perform these procedures also requires more training. Becoming certified in ACLS will enable you to take higher-level action if a medical emergency occurs in your presence—which can be crucial if no other ACLS certified individuals are immediately available.
You’ll be able to work in areas of your profession that may have been previously closed to you, because you’ll have those higher-level life-saving skills.
When to Certify in ACLS
Some medical positions and health care facilities require ACLS certification up front. Nurses and physicians who work in emergency rooms or intensive care units, for example, would generally be required to be certified. Other positions or hospitals may not require you to have certification before hiring, but will expect you to obtain it within a certain period of time.
Be sure you understand the requirements of your job. If you are looking for work, picking up an extra certification might make you more attractive to employers.
How to Certify in ACLS
There are two parts to certifying in ACLS. First, you must take an ACLS course. These are traditionally classroom-based, although online options exist as well. A simple Web search can quickly lead you to several companies offering ACLS courses online. The American Heart Association offers an online certification course, but also requires you to visit their office to practice and test on their equipment.
Following the coursework, you must pass a written test. You’ll also demonstrate the skills you’ve learned and show you can apply them under pressure in real-life situations. Class time may be scheduled separately from the testing time, to allow you time to study before taking the exam.
If you take an online course, you can pursue it at your own pace and then test when you are ready. Some individuals prefer the interaction and hands-on experience of classroom learning, but others appreciate the flexibility that online study gives them. Either method can be valuable and can lead to certification.
ACLS renewal certification also requires coursework. This will help you brush up on your skills, as well as teach you of any new procedures you should be aware of. The renewal coursework typically takes less time than initial certification does. The hospital where you work may periodically sponsor training or renewal courses, and may cover your costs of certifying or recertifying.
There are also a number of colleges and companies that offer training classes. Either way, the place where you work can be a valuable source of information as far as where and when you should take certification or recertification classes.
Is Certifying in ACLS Right for You?
Requirements vary with each profession and medical facility, so the best way to know if you need certification is by checking with your place of employment. If you’re looking for work, check the requirements of the kinds of jobs you’re interested in. If many of them require ACLS, then pursuing certification would be a big plus for your job search.
Aside from that, there are other clues that certifying in ACLS might be right for you. Are the people you work with certified? Does the place where you work sponsor and promote a certification class? Do you have friends in the profession who are certified, or thinking of becoming certified?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to the question. However, for many medical professions it’s essential to become certified in ACLS. And for many others, it’s good to be certified anyway.
American Heart Association – http://www.heart.org