CPR, ACLS And BLS Courses, Training And Certification

Usually, in order to become employed as a nurse, BLS is the minimum requirement, which is one step above CPR. Let’s take a look.


CPR Training

CPR courses can be followed by people who do not work in the nursing profession. In fact, most businesses and organizations have at least one first aider for every 30 employees. A first aider always has to hold a CPR certification. This is designed to provide first line response to keep someone safe and comfortable and to attempt resuscitation if necessary until paramedics arrive. A CPR training certification is generally valid for two years and the course must be repeated after this time in order to be allowed to apply the skills.

BLS Training

BLS stands for Basic Life Support and is a step above CPR, focusing more on people in greater distress. Someone with BLS is generally able to provide emergency care to a greater degree. For instance, someone with BLS would be able to support someone with significant injuries on their way to treatment, rather than having to leave the in place until paramedics arrive. This is why it is often a minimum requirement for nurses, although most nurses will be put on ACLS training once employed as well. Just as with CPR, BLS training is only valid for two years and must be renewed after this period.

ACLS Training

ACLS stands for Advanced Cardiac Life Support. This is a very in depth course that lets you look at a whole range of medical procedures and techniques. These are all designed so that you are able to respond in the right way to serious emergencies, such as strokes, cardiac arrests and any other cardiac emergency. ACLS training involves preparation as well, as it is a complicated course. It includes simulations in which you have to work individually and as part of a team, and in order to be certified, you also have to simulate the role of team leader in a cardiac emergency situation.

Where To Get ACLS Certification

There are various places in which you can receive ACLS training, but they have to be certified by the American Heart Association. In order to choose the best one for you, you need to look for one that is dedicated to continuous professional development. Some courses are longer than other and although time is money and taking a nurse out of work is never a good idea, the time spent on ACLS courses is very much worth it. Various providers now also offer online tests, which means you can cut the training time quite significantly. Do make sure that if you partake in online tests or use other virtual materials, that they are in accordance with the AHA (American Heart Association)’s 2010 Provider Manual. The AHA also regularly updates other standards and guidelines and your training provider must follow these.

As with CPR and BLS training, ACLS courses have to be repeated every two years. However, recertification is generally a quicker process than initial certification. As soon as you have completed the course, you will receive an ACLS Provider Card. Some training providers instantly issue you with a digital copy, so you can apply your knowledge in the workplace straight away. The cards hold the AEMAA and AMC seals as well. The initial certification is valid for 12 CME credits and the recertification is valid for 8 CME credits. This way, you can immediately prove that you are committed to continuous professional education as well.

The course is hard and stressful and includes both simulations and theory material. Not all nurses are required to hold ACLS and it is generally the healthcare facility in which you are employed that will decide whether or not the training is necessary. However, even if the course is not entirely necessary for your specific position, it is a very important piece of training that will look very good on your resume. Added to this that you will receive a significant amount of CME credits (Continuous Medical Education credits), it seems there are very few reasons not to apply for the training. Do make sure you speak to your line manager or superior about the possibilities.