For You EMS Types…

… there’s a new column on EMS1.

Has ACLS become a merit badge without merit?

I invite your comments…

  • Dawn P

    I don’t think my classes are…they have to know their stuff or they don’t pass. I was also amazed that when my husband had open heart surgery last August the hospital followed AHA guidelines to the letter….I always thought the Doc’s did whatever….

    • Ambulance_Driver

      But here’s my question, Dawn:

      Is the “stuff” they have to know in a standard ACLS course absurdly simple these days?
      Are you still the TC Coordinator there? If so, do you allow your instructors to augment the course videos with additional discussion? Do they have to stick to the canned case scenarios? Are they allowed to replace the course videos with a case discussion?

      • Dawn P

        I am the black sheep of AHA in my region so yes I stick to their stuff. I am one of the largest TC’s in the nation. But my students don’t walk out with a card unless they pass. I would love to add stuff to my venue but I have people constantly looking over my shoulder ;-) (not official AHA people but competitors who run tattle every time I think outside of the box…..) It also depends upon the venue….If I’m teaching my colleagues we do stuff that is more pertinent to us….

        • Ambulance_Driver

          That’s exactly my point. The talented and experienced ACLS instructors can make the course so much more than what it is, but they have to “toe the line” and stick to playing the videos and little else, like any trained seal could do.
          What’s worse, experienced doctors, nurses and medics know there is more to ACLS than what is in the videos. It’s a waste of their time.

          • Gabe S

            My thought is that if a 15 year old can go in (and with a good instructor) be able to pass the class, what does it say about what AHA is putting out. If you’ve taken ACLS before you generally know what to expect. If we had an instructor who would make it different, I believe we would enjoy it more and actually learn something new.

  • Ted

    You used to really have to know your stuff to get an ACLS card. Now, they are essentially cracker jack prizes. That’s not necessarily a bad thing though: everyone on the care team can now know the basic protocol, which makes it easier for all parties concerned to work together.

    That said, I don’t know if the class needs to be as long as it is. Every year, AAEM gives an AHA update at its national conference. This covers ACLS, PALS, and BLS. It takes about 15 minutes.

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