Emergencies occur anytime, anywhere, which is why being prepared is something that most people should exemplify. The American Heart Association took this belief by heart, which had served as the basis of their program called Pediatric Advanced Life Support or PALS. AHA originally developed PALS classes in 1983 as response for the needs of resuscitation guidelines and trainings that would aid health care professionals in providing care for patients especially for children. Since then, PALS provide health care professionals the skills and knowledge to properly respond and treat critically ill patients suffering from cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies, specifically infants and children, whether in or out of the hospital.
PALS is a program that follows simulated clinical scenarios and learning stations to actively encourage students to learn and practice life-saving skills individually, as a part of a team and as team leaders. PALS give emphasis on the importance of basic life support CPR for the survival of patients, integration of advanced pediatric life support intervention as well as the importance of team communication, interaction and cooperation during resuscitation. The realistic simulation involved in PALS course reinforce major health care concepts that include basic life support care proficiency, cardiac arrest management, recognition and early management initiation for peri-conditions, algorithms, ischemic chest pain and coronary syndrome identification and treatment, effective team interaction, and recognition of other life-threatening conditions in order to administer initial care.
To get PALS certification, individuals are required to take PALS course. This could be done in two different ways either through AHA approved online PALS providers or through attending PALS classes in medical schools or hospitals. If you are looking to complete your PALS certification immediately, you could go online and complete your PALS course from your computer at your own pace. If you are more adept to learning in a classroom setting, it would be more preferable to attend in medical schools or hospitals that offer PALS course.
PALs classes have a standardized curriculum wherein students attend a classroom-based education led by an instructor with video aid and skills conducted throughout and are provided with materials for continuing education that is strongly based from AHA’s “assess-categorize-decide-act.” PALS course lasts for 14 hours long and most providers offer it for two intensive days. On the process of the course, an AHA PALS instructor is the one who facilitate the discussion around simulations and video-based lessons and students are required to participate in 12 core clinical cases. They are also expected to complete and pass a written examination before they receive their certification.
PALS certification is intentionally designed to be participated by health care professionals that includes family physicians, pediatricians, emergency physicians, physician assistants, nurses, paramedics, nurse practitioners, respiratory therapists and other health care providers that directly administer advanced life support during pediatric emergencies. For these individuals to participate in the course, it is necessary that they have completed an American Heart Association basic life support (BLS) health care provider course or American Red Cross BLS course for professional rescuers, PALS pharmacology and knowledge in ECG interpretation. They also have to complete the pre-course material given to them prior to the first day of classes so that they would not be rescheduled. Once they passed the PALS course and examination, they would be given the PALS provider course completion card which is valid for two years.
Of course, pediatric advanced life support is not only beneficial for health care practitioners; it is also advantageous for patients especially for critically ill or injured children. Accordingly, the development of PALS has been shown to consistently increase the survival rate of patients suffering from cardiac arrest or other cardiopulmonary emergencies, who were attended by PALS certified health care practitioners in pre-hospital settings. Overall, the development of PALS is relatively useful both for health care professionals and patients during emergency situations. If you’re a health care professional who wish to further improve your clinical practice, it is about time to receive PALS certification in order to provide the best medical care you could give to the community.
As a healthcare professional, it always pays to be prepared especially during emergency cases whether in or out of the hospital. One of the most important means to be equipped with the skills and knowledge about proper patient care is by attending pediatric advanced life support or PALS classes to be able to further improve one’s life-saving skills. PALS is especially tailored for physicians, pediatricians, nurses paramedics and other healthcare providers involved in direct advanced life support during pediatric emergencies.