What Medical Surgical RNs Should Know About ACLS Certification

Advanced Cardiac Life Support training has become an essential requirement for travel nurses—especially when hospitals evaluate critical care and Med/Surg job candidates. The more certifications med/surg registered nurses have, the easier it is to place them. A big reason for the emphasis on this certification is that ACLS increases a cardiac patient’s survival rate by over 6% vs conventional CPR.

8 Vital Things Regarding ACLS Training

These are several things to consider regarding ACLS training for RNs

  • ACLS certification builds on what is learned in BLS (basic life support) training. Therefore, you must first master BLS (Basic Life Support) training before getting started.
  • Current ACLS skills reflect key changes set by AHA: the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care.
  • ACLS Certification requires approximately 10-12 hours to complete, including skills practice and skills testing. A renewal course requires approximately 5-6 hours, including skills practice and skills testing.
  • Additional Certifications: If you work in a family practice or emergency department where patients of all ages are seen, certification in both ACLS and PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) certification may be required.
  • It's possible to get ACLS certified and re-certified online; in addition to ACLS, many healthcare staffing agencies encourage travelers to recertify through the American Heart Association (AHA). The AHA has made it easier to maintain your certifications by making the re-certification class only one day, IF you re-certify before your current card expires.
  • ACLS Most Basic Skills include airway management, effective chest compressions, use of a bag-mask device and use of an AED.
  • ACLS Early Management Skills: include recognition and early management of respiratory and cardiac arrest, and early management of peri-arrest conditions, acute coronary syndromes and stroke.
  • ACLS is highly beneficial for critical care nurses because it helps them more effectively communicate as a member and leader of their resuscitation teams

In healthcare, it’s essential that nurses continue to broaden and deepen their knowledge; this is especially true when it comes to skills that improve patient safety, and stay compliant with Medicare initiatives.

Getting certified in ACLS shows motivation and the willingness to expand one’s expertise in their field, and comes highly recommended for recent nursing graduates looking to catch the eye of potential employers. Call 1-800-996-2206 or apply online today.

Footnote: Information used in this blog post was gleaned from the American Heart Association and Health Education Solutions.