The ACLS or Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support Certification can help every medical professional advance their careers in health care. But, passing this certification exam may not be so easy if you haven’t prepared the smart way. Here are a few pointers to help you crack this exam:
The ECC Handbook is your guide
To assist you in your preparation, refer to the handbook released by the American Heart Association that is an excellent resource, providing evidenced based treatment methods for all ages in medical emergencies. The book comes in handy because it helps the student learn step-by-step:
- The medicines that professionals need to give
- About essential equipment that is needed
- About post-arrest recommendations, which can stabilize the patient’s health
- How to treat critical situations, shock states, and airway management
Take an EKG course
Take an EKG course, which will prepare you for ACLS classes and tests. There are books and online programs available for this. It is important that as part of an EKG course and ACLS you are able to recognize and treat lethal arrhythmias in patients. These involve ventricular fibrillation, ventricular tachycardia, and pulse less electrical activity.
Make use of Mnemonics
ACLS makes use of algorithms in the treatment of problems. Using mnemonics can help you remember course material better. The most commonly used mnemonic devices in ACLS are the five T’s and the six H’s. These are an absolute must for your preparation:
- The five T’s:
- Thrombosis (Coronary or Pulmonary)
- Tamponade (Cardiac)
- Tension pneumothorax
- The six H’s:
- Hydrogen ion (Acidosis)
- Hyperkalemia or Hypokalemia
Prepare notes and charts
As you study, memorize medications and their doses. Every algorithm, you need to pay special attention to, and you also have to understand in which situations treatment must be provided for arrhythmias. Memorizing these through notes and charts becomes easier and will also help you critically analyze what you study.
YouTube.com and ACLS
YouTube.com has many videos uploaded on EKG and ACLS. These videos describe the causes of arrhythmia in patients and will also provide you with ways to assess and treat arrhythmia. Age, trauma, medications, heart failure, dehydration, and heredity, all play an important part in a patient’s arrhythmia. Medical practitioners have to recognize these cardiac changes and then administer the appropriate treatment. They also have to know the difference between synchronized and unsynchronized cardio version.
Take ACLS Practice tests
Take as many practice tests as you can because practice tests help you gauge your performance and preparation levels in the subject matter.
Hone your BCLS Skills
BCLS skills include quick assessment of patient response and pulse i.e. the practitioner is allowed only ten seconds, chest compression for adult patients, ventilations using bag-mask-valve, AED and application of AED pads. These skills are a prerequisite to any ACLS course. You may even be asked to perform in practical sessions.
Reading about different diagnosis helps
Study the common diagnosis such as dehydration, septic and cardiogenic shock, epiglottitis, and trauma, etc. and their corresponding treatments. For every diagnosis, there are separate algorithms and guidelines, which are standardized procedures.
Review Medications and Doses
There are some frequently used drugs in emergencies that you can read up on. Some of these drugs are amiodarone, oxygen, epinephrine, atropine, and adenosine.
Be prepared for team work
Team playing skills are crucial in a classroom environment. You will be called upon many times in an ACLS course to help one another. So learn to take responsibility and to work as a strong team player. Have proactive class discussions. Ask as many questions as you can and let the responses help you to study better.
With these tips, you should be able to crack the ACLS certification exam.
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