The pediatric advanced life support (PALS) course can teach nursing professionals just what they need to know to prevent a potentially life-threatening situation from becoming fatal. When it comes to emergency care, nurses have to understand a wide variety of content in order to save the lives of their patients. Some patients require extra special care in order to help them remain alive. Children and infants are very different from adults so they need a different type of care when life-threatening situations occur.
What is Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)?
Pediatric advanced life support is a form of critical care nursing that allows nurses to take measures to resuscitate children. Because of the physical difference between children and adults, children require a different type of resuscitation care to help them to breath properly. Nurses must prioritize the assessment of the child in order to manage the injuries and illnesses. The methods taught in the pediatric advanced life support class are used to stabilize and transport patients when a child is at risk of cardiopulmonary arrest.
The course teaches a variety of concepts related to pediatric advanced life support, including dynamics of an effective resuscitation team, approaches to pediatric assessment, intraosseous access and insertion, respiratory management, defibrillation, synchronized cardioversion, fluid bolus administration, intubation, ventilating a child using a mask, and umbilical line insertion.
At the conclusion of the pediatric advanced life support (PALS) course, nursing professionals will have the ability to define various conditions that place a child at risk for cardiopulmonary arrest, and they will have the skills to identify strategies to prevent cardiopulmonary arrest in a child.
How Nurses used PALS on the Job
Cardiopulmonary arrest in children can occur for a number of reasons, including burns, trauma, lower and upper respiratory tract infection, seizures, drowning, congenital cardiac abnormalities, gastroenteritis, sepsis, dysrhythmias, and foreign body aspiration—just to name a few. Nurses must use their PALS skills to assess the child’s needs so that they can implement the proper medical care to save the child’s life. They also use PALS to determine the drugs in which to use to resuscitate the child. These drugs include dopamine, dobutamine, and epinephrine. Nurses must know the exact dosages to administer per minute to help save the child’s life.
Nurses use PALS to manage airways so that patients receive oxygen. Nurses use endotracheal (ET) intubation to control the child’s airways as a secure way to get oxygen into the child’s body. They also have the responsibility of securing unsecured airways as well. They also use their skills to assist the child with breathing until the child can breathe on his own, or additional medical equipment becomes available. Nurses use ventilators and bag valve masks to assist with breathing as well.
Nurses use their skills to provide cardioversion and circulation to help their young patients. They must understand the proper way to administer chest compressions, and they must also know when to administer cardioversion to regulate the heart’s rhythm.
Study Guide for Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) for Healthcare Providers by AHA (American Heart Association)
Before a student or nurse can take a PALS class they must have the PALS study manual. You can buy this student manual online or from your instructor. It is always important to study and read the material before attending the class so you will be prepared. Here is the most current PALS for Healthcare Providers Student Manual with the most current guidelines:
Tips on How to Study for PALS in Nursing School
With so much information to memorize, nursing professionals need to figure out way to study so that they can pass their PALS course in nursing school. Here are few tips that can help nursing students with the class.
- Use quality study material. Nursing students should use material such as the ECC Handbook and the Pediatric Advanced Life Support Provider Manual as a few of the best sources of information. The material contains checklists, practice questions, reference cards for nursing students to study. These materials can be found at just about any bookstore.
- Use PALS exams to study. Many organizations offer PALS preparation courses that nursing students can use for additional information sources. Old examinations may also be helpful if student can acquire these materials.
- Use index cards to make note cards. Topics such as algorithms, drugs, and interventions are great types of information to use on the note cards. Much of the material on the exam is scenario based material so students may want to write the scenario on one part of the card and the correct actions on the other side.
- Use online sources when available. Use study materials that include quizzes, study guides, and review materials that can help students with the class. Many of these websites offer this information free of charge.
There is much information to remember for the PALS course, but nursing student can be successful in this course by studying. Caring for children with life-threatening conditions requires a great amount of skill and a keen eye for assessing the health problems in children. The pediatric advanced life support course (PALS) prepares nursing professionals to save the lives of children.