If you currently hold an ACLS certification, you must make sure that you renew it regularly to remain compliant with your healthcare organization’s requirements. Your ACLS certification generally lasts two years and does not offer an additional grace period. Rather than looking at this class as a necessary evil, thoughtfully consider how it can actually make you a better health care provider.
Not Just Another Pointless Class
Your temptation may be to treat this as another one of the many boring classes that your health care organization forces you to attend. After all, you have proven by your daily care of your patients that you can save lives and catch possible health crises, right?
However, your skills can get worn down in the normal hustle of your everyday work. By approaching this as an important class, both for your own knowledge base as well as for the health of your future patients, you can change your attitude about the few hours that you will need to take out of your life for ACLS renewal.
Catch up on changes
Other than the fact that your employer most likely requires you to renew your certification regularly, there’s another reason to renew. One of the most important reasons to renew every two years is to catch up on any changes instituted by the American Heart Association.
The AHA doesn’t make these changes without plenty of thought and research. Keep in mind that these changes are not meant to frustrate you. Instead, they’re based on research findings that have shown how better outcomes can be achieved. For example, the most recent changes to the ACLS algorithm occurred in 2015.
If you have not renewed and are relying on your original certification that you received before 2015, you may still be caring for your patients and responding to codes following outdated information. Some examples of recent changes include giving epinephrine as soon as possible for a non-shockable rhythm and specifying that CPR should be at 100 to 120 compressions per minute rather than only stating greater than 100.
Brush up on algorithms
Not only will you be able to note changes to ACLS guidelines at your recertification class, but also you’ll be able to brush up on what you’ve already learned. In the busyness of your daily work, it can be easy to forget specifics. However, it is in the specifics that people’s lives are saved.
You will review all algorithms, including symptomatic bradycardia and tachycardia, sudden cardiac arrest, suspected stroke and suspected drug overdose. Knowing that you’re following the correct treatment pathways for each situation you come across will fill you with confidence every time you come to work.
Do your friends joke with you about your love for multi-tasking? If so, then you’ll love the hidden benefits of completing ACLS recertification. Not only will you be fulfilling your employer’s requirements and gaining increased confidence, but also you’ll gain continuing education hours for license renewal. You’ll usually be able to gain four hours for recertification and may even be able to claim the time spent on recertification as working hours through your employer.
The Right Attitude
It can be easy to come into your ACLS renewal class with a grumpy attitude. After all, you’re probably already tired from your usual work and may prefer the excitement of your real job to the planned-out scenarios of your renewal course. However, you can be sure that you’ll get much more out of this course if you arrive with the intent to learn and the mindset that you do not necessarily know it all.
If you’ve allowed your certification to expire either by a few days or a few years, you’re still eligible to take an ACLS certification renewal course. This is generally the easier and less time-consuming option. However, you can also choose to take the initial certification course again if you feel that you need a fuller review of the concepts or more practice of your skills. At the end of either course, you’ll once again be certified and can be confident in your ability to save people’s lives.