Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) is a systematic approach to providing care to victims who have suffered a cardiac arrest or from several other specific medical emergencies. ACLS is an extension of basic life support (BLS): BLS is where the process of resuscitation begins, but ACLS is required for successful resuscitation.
ACLS certification is a requirement for many health care professionals. Nurses who work in an emergency room, intensive care unit, an operating room, a recovery room, a step-down unit, or who will work as transport nurses are required to have certification in ACLS. Physicians who work in these same areas and medical personnel who respond to cardiovascular emergencies are also required to be certified.
In order to obtain your certification, you must take – and pass – an online or offline ACLS course. Any health care professional or provider is eligible to participate - there are no specific prerequisites required. The online training options allows medical providers to earn their provider status from their home or workplace without having to travel to a classroom course. These classes can be taken anytime and can be conveniently accessed from any computer with internet access.
The text that you will use for the program is the ACLS Provider Manual; the text is generally included as part of the tuition. Most of the material covered throughout one's training is based on the provider manual published by the American Heart Association: for example there are approximately 20 arrhythmias you must be able to recognize, and there are at least six complex treatment algorithms that must be memorized.
After you have completed the course, you must take a written exam. The written exam covers the core cases of the published AHA provider manual and there are both online and offline exams available. Online tests are typically multiple choice and anywhere from 50 to 75 or more questions in length. These examinations are usually not timed, although most offline classes place a time limit on their exam.
Certification validation is good for two years. ACLS certification can typically be used for continuing education credits. Many hospitals reimburse the cost of both online and offline training. Approval for online institutions varies based on the quality of the institute and employer preference.
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