ACLS-certified workers must know operate advanced equipment like electrocardiograms.
Advanced Cardiac Life Support is a skillset designed for dealing with people who are undergoing serious medical emergencies. It builds on the techniques of basic life support - the kind you learn when you train for CPR certification - and adds many more advanced abilities, including intubation, defibrillation, electrocardiogram analysis and the use of intravenous lines. Healthcare workers must be prepared to deal with heart arrhythmia and with major emergencies like cardiac arrest. All of this requires a special certification in ACLS, testing for which is widely available.
Must Be a Trained Healthcare Professional
Because of the importance and advanced nature of ACLS, certification is offered only to trained healthcare professionals. Testing organizations assume that ACLS students already have a great deal of knowledge and experience in healthcare basics, as well as a working knowledge of lower-level life support techniques like CPR. All medical workers who are likely to have to respond to emergencies, including physicians, nurses, emergency medical technicians, paramedics, are both qualified for and expected to obtain ACLS certification.
Take a Training Course
Many organizations, including the American Heart Association, offer the training required for ACLS certification. The AHA's course takes about 13.5 hours, and courses offered by other groups are comparable. The course refreshes the student's knowledge of basic life support skills, tests her abilities to function alone and as part of a team, and introduces the new techniques and equipment in which ACLS requires proficiency. At the end of such a course, the student will receive a card proving ACLS certification.
Since effective ACLS care requires a fully up-to-date knowledge of the latest healthcare information and techniques, health workers are required to get regularly recertified, often every two years. The recertification process is usually considerably cheaper and shorter than the original certification.
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