What is Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) & How to Pass ACLS. Nurses are faced with life-threatening conditions with their patients that require urgent treatment to keep them alive. Nursing students must take a number of courses during nursing school that help them to become very experienced nursing professionals. The advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) course is vital to the livelihood of patients with serious medical conditions. This course helps nurses determine what course of action is best for the health of the patient.
What is Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)?
Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) are a set of medical interventions that nursing professionals use to care for medical conditions that require urgent treatment for conditions such as stroke, cardiac arrest, and various other life-threatening medical emergencies. Nursing professionals must have extensive knowledge in the correct implementation of each of these interventions to save the lives of their patients.
Only trained medical professionals can administer advanced cardiac life support to patients so nursing students must participate in advanced cardiac life support classes to gain the practice and hands-on experience that these courses have to offer.
The training that nursing students receive in the advanced cardiac life support class teaches them how to interpret and read electrocardiograms, manage the airway of patients, understand emergency pharmacology, manage stroke and acute coronary syndromes, basic life support skills, identify and manage cardiac and respiratory arrest, identify and manage peri-arrest conditions, and initiate IV access.
How Nurses use ACLS on the Job
The first way in which nurses use ACLS on the job is when they identify what is wrong with their patients. Before any type of critical medical care can be administered, nurses must determine the problem so that they can take action and implement a treatment plan for the long run.
Nursing professionals also use ACLS when they use medical interventions to help their patients. Nurses sometimes have to use intubation to open the airway of a patient. When intubation is the only solution to the problem, nurses must act quickly to begin the process. They also use their ACLS skills when they shock the patient using a defibrillator to regain the patient’s normal heart rhythm. Nurses also use the pharmaceutical skills that they learn in the advanced cardiac life support course to assist with resuscitating the patient.
Nurses must also make decisions about the patient’s treatment based on information obtained from the electrocardiogram reading. They must have the ability to read the data quickly so that they can begin medical interventions. Nursing professionals also use their skills to begin intravenous (IV) lines. At times, it is necessary to gain quick access to the veins of patient’s for medical procedures. The advanced cardiac life support course also teaches nursing students surgical interventions such as chest tubes and central lines placement.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support ACLS Student Study Manual by American Heart Association
Before a nursing student or nurse takes or renews their Advanced Cardiac Life Support ACLS certification, it is recommended they study the Advanced Cardiac Life Support ACLS study manual made by the American Heart Association. Here is the most current study manual for ACLS with the latest guideline changes:
Tips on How to Study for ACLS in Nursing School
When every second counts, nurses must have superior skills in advanced cardiac life support. They gain these skills by applying the content that they learn in their ACLS course in their nursing classes. Here are a few tips that can help nursing students meet success in their advanced cardiac life support course.
- Study the algorithms. The ACLS guidelines are grouped into several algorithms. These algorithms are standard and increase the effectiveness of ACLS treatment methods. Nursing students should study these algorithms so that they are easy to remember.
- Carefully study ACLS drugs. Certain drugs have a tendency to counteract with other drugs such as sympathomimetic drugs. It is important that nursing students understand the side effects and counteractions of each of the ACLS drugs.
- Create flowcharts and graphs. Many of the algorithms that nursing students must memorize are in flowchart format. It may be helpful to create flashcards or use entire sheets of blank paper to create these visual representations.
- Use review tools. Nursing students can find review tools such as PowerPoint presentations and online flashcards to help them study for the course exams. Students may also want to look for review books, or they may want to consider taking an online review course for extra help to pass the class.
- Study daily. The best way to retain information for the exam is to study the content each day. It may also be helpful to study the notes and textbook and create additional notes to use to study.
Successful completion of the ACLS course is vital to any nursing professional’s career. These individuals must have the skills to quickly assess the patient’s conditions, identify the problem, and implement a treatment option. The skills that nursing students learn in their advanced cardiac life support class teach critical components of the job.