Furthering Your Medical Career With ACLS Training

Monday, March 14, 2016

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) training is a specialized set of techniques and medical protocols created for healthcare professionals and first responders who administer to patients experiencing serious cardiac or cardiac-arrest events. EMTs, paramedics, doctors and nurses are required to obtain ACLS certification as a part of their certifications needed for employment. 
Image of ACLS at RC Health Services

ACLS for medical professionals is the next level of training that builds on the participants' prior certification in CPR/AED and Basic Life Support skills. ACLS training expands on the medical professional’s existing knowledge of cardiac-event preparedness by teaching advanced skills such as defibrillation, administering IV drugs and drug protocols, intubation and EKG and ECG analysis.

Prerequisites For ACLS Training

The ACLS training course is designed for medical professionals who have experience in patient care and covers advanced cardiac care techniques for treating severe trauma or cardiac arrest. Medical professionals must be certified in CPR and must present proof of certification in order to enroll in a class. Training and certification in Basic Life Support (BLS) while not always required, is recommended.
ACLS training has become more popular in recent years and most hospitals require certification for all on-floor employees such as doctors, nurses and other support staff. Considered continuing education for health professionals, ACLS course work is designed for medical professionals who already have experience in the field such as nurses, physicians, EMTs and paramedics.

What Does ACLS Coursework Include?

Because the course is designed for medical professionals with existing experience, it focuses on advanced techniques. ACLS training prepares experienced medical professionals to assess and initially treat emergency situations using ACLS protocols. Trained healthcare professionals are able to identify acute coronary conditions including ischemic chest pain, recognize the symptoms of stroke and manage cardiac arrest using ACLS protocols. Trainees are also taught both one- and two-person resuscitation techniques for adults, children and infants, and to provide primary emergency treatment for cardiac-related situations.
There are many different institutions offering courses in ACLS certification both online and in classroom settings. All courses are American Heart Association approved and are designed to refresh the students' basic knowledge of CPR skills, test their ability to perform individually and as part of a resuscitation team, introduce new training in more advanced treatment options for care and the use of the advanced equipment used in ACLS. Upon successful completion of the required coursework and hands-on training, the student is issued an ACLS certification card.

What Does ACLS Certification Mean?

ACLS certification means that the recipient has received the necessary training and preparation to identify and respond to various medical emergencies. While the main coursework deals with the identification and treatment of cardiac related emergencies, ACLS builds upon the student’s previous training in Basic Life Support. Certification means that the recipient is trained in CPR, rescue breathing and management of choking.
The certification program also covers protocols on management of cardiac arrest and other cardiac emergencies, airway management and the application of related devices such as tracheal tubes, and immediate post-cardiac-arrest care. Coursework teaches students the assessment of breathing, opening the airway through intubation, monitoring circulation, stabilization of the patient, and using a defibrillator to normalize cardiac rhythms.
Upon completion of ACLS training the medical professional will be able to recognize and treat specific emergencies that may lead to cardiac arrest such as drowning, anaphylactic shock, hypothermia, trauma and drug overdose.

Renewing Certification

ACLS certification expires within two years of passing the final exam. Re-certification is required every two years and students must take a current course in order to re-certify. Because ACLS protocols and guidelines often change it’s crucial for healthcare providers to be current with their training. Advanced Cardiac Life Support training consists of both study and hands-on training. Retraining every two years ensures professionals are current with the material and have in-depth technical experience using their training in a number of various clinical situations and scenarios.

ACLS Training for Health Professionals

Health professionals and associate professionals are highly trained medical workers involved in providing preventative, therapeutic and rehabilitative services. These health care workers require extensive knowledge. Training and skills are often obtained through university education lasting from 3-6 years. ACLS is often required study for:
• Nurses
• Midwives
• Dentists
• Pharmaceutical professionals
• Audiologists
• Ambulance workers, paramedics and EMTs
• Medical Assistants
• and community healthcare professionals
ACLS training is advanced study and requires students to possess CPR certification. Basic Life Support (BLS) certification is highly recommended and may be required by some medical facilities prior to ACLS. People who do not possess advanced education or previous training in the medical field may find the ACLS course too difficult. Practicing or attempting to practice ACLS without proper training or certification may make the practitioner liable for malpractice and open to a lawsuit.
For first-time students seeking certification in ACLS, it’s recommended to receive training in a traditional classroom setting. The student can benefit from the direct access to the trained medical professionals who teach the class.
Re-certification students may find that completing the coursework online is a more flexible option that allows them to study at their own pace, around their schedule. For working medical care professionals this flexibility is a major benefit. While the classroom study can be completed online, the student will need to schedule an onsite visit to complete the hands-on training and skills portion of the training.
Healthcare professionals are required to have a current BLS card, as well as the ability to read and understand EKG rhythms and have at least a basic understanding of pharmacology. Ideally, the student will have some clinical or field experience or be about to graduate nursing or paramedic school.