Why EMS Providers Should Receive Both BLS and ACLS Certification
Arguably the most critical time in determining patient outcomes is the prehospital phase of care. The rate of response and medical attention patients receive from the time we arrive on scene until we can get them to a hospital is often the tipping point between a successful recovery and long-lasting complications or death.
That’s why it is essential that we stay up to date on all of our training and certifications so that we are always ready and prepared to help save a life at a moment’s notice. The increased availability of critical online certifications makes it easier than ever to become and stay certified.
One of the most important certifications that will help lay a foundation for all other training is a basic life support or BLS certification. Obtaining a BLS certification will be essential to your success as an EMT or paramedic.
Joshua Stilley, an EMS physician, wrote, “I like to describe things like high-quality compressions and good BVM as fundamental. ‘Basic’ makes it seem like it’s easy. In reality, [it’s] not hard to screw up but critical to get right for high-quality care.”
Proper BLS training can often be the difference between a good or bad patient outcome. That’s why it’s so important to receive high-quality training that ensures you are able to give your patients high-quality care. At ACLS Certification Institute by CareerCert, we make it easy by offering online recertification and renewal courses that you can access anytime, anywhere. Our courses will teach you the latest life-saving best practices to improve patient outcomes and our BLS accreditations through CAPCE and the ADA, AMA, and ANCC in joint providership with the Postgraduate Institute for Medicine (PIM) allow you to earn up to two hours of CEU/CME credit.
The Next Step
Another great way to make sure you are properly prepared to tackle critical calls is to obtain an advanced cardiovascular life support (ACLS) certification. One of the ACLS certification requirements is to already have a current BLS certification. This is because an ACLS certification course will build upon the skills you have already developed in your BLS training.
One deterrent to receiving this additional certification is lack of time. That’s why we offer ACLS certification online so that you can complete this additional training when it is most convenient for you. Our online ACLS certification course includes:
- BLS Primary Survey and ACLS Secondary Survey with critical actions
- The important elements of effective resuscitation team dynamics
- Clinical situations in which the following airway adjuncts may be used for airway management: oropharyngeal airway (OPA), nasopharyngeal airway (APC), bag-mask ventilation and advanced airway
- Recognizing VF and VT on the ECG
- Indications, contraindications, doses and routes of administration for drugs recommended for refractory V/Pulseless VT
- Major signs and symptoms of stroke
With this additional training, you will be better equipped to handle severe medical conditions and provide the next level of treatment to those patients for whom BLS alone may not suffice.
The OPALS Study and Why You Should Continue Training
There are some who argue that ACLS treatments are unnecessary and can even detract from patient success. The Ontario prehospital advanced life support (OPALS) study sought to examine how advanced life support affected patient outcomes. Its findings, often cited by critics, seem to indicate that in cases of cardiac arrest, major trauma, and respiratory distress, ACLS measures did more harm than good.
Medical professionals, however, strongly disagree. Ed Racht, MD, noted: “To say that ALS doesn’t matter is false. ‘Advanced’ interventions can and do make a difference in patient outcomes.” He continued by emphasizing that what matters most to patient outcomes is getting the life support they need from the right person, at the right time, in the right place. Often, that comes through ACLS techniques.
A study analyzing ACLS training’s impact on long-term survival rates found that in-hospital cardiac arrest patients cared for by an ACLS provider had a 30-day survival rate nearly 5 times higher than those who were not cared for by an ACLS provider. Both ACLS and BLS training-based techniques contribute to improving patient outcomes. Split-second decisions are often the difference between life and death in the field, and the only way we can be prepared to make them is to receive as much training as we can and to learn as much as possible. Be prepared to make quick, accurate treatment decisions by signing up for an online certification course today or experiencing our ACLS virtual reality simulations!
- Brennan E. BLS is more than basic, it’s fundamental to good care. EMS1.com. Mar 5, 2020. https://www.ems1.com/bls/articles/bls-is-more-than-basic-its-fundamental-to-good-care-vUccOufXAABcGUQW/
- Mandatory Requirements for all ACLS courses. AllCareCPR.com. Accessed Oct 15, 2020. https://www.allcarecpr.com/acls_course_requirements
- Stiell IG, et al. The OPALS Major Trauma Study: Impact of advanced life-support on survival and morbidity. Canadian Medical Association Journal. Apr 22, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.071154
- Friese Gg. Pinnacle MES Quick Take: Does ALS really matter? EMS1.com. Jul 24, 2019. https://www.ems1.com/als/articles/pinnacle-ems-quick-take-does-als-really-matter-gpUlgjZscRTjBcMJ/
- Moretti MA, Cesar LA, Nusbacher A, Kern KB, Timerman S, Ramires JA. Advanced cardiac life support training improves long-term survival from in-hospital cardiac arrest. Resuscitation 2007 Mar;72(3):458-65.