ACLS for an EMT

ZombieEMT

Chief Medical Zombie
Premium Member
375
28
28
I currently operate a small training company, only offering levels of BLS and HeartSaver (and some other unrelated stuff). I want to expand my availability of courses. My next thought would be for ACLS. How difficult is an ACLS course for an EMT?
 

NPO

Forum Deputy Chief
1,831
897
113
I currently operate a small training company, only offering levels of BLS and HeartSaver (and some other unrelated stuff). I want to expand my availability of courses. My next thought would be for ACLS. How difficult is an ACLS course for an EMT?
I have held ACLS since my first year as an EMT.
At my current service, it is a required certification (as well as PHTLS and EPC) for EMTs.

As long as it's well taught, there shouldn't be any issues.
 

DesertMedic66

Forum Troll
11,279
3,460
113
It’s not an extremely difficult class. However having an EMT teach it could cause some issues
 
OP
OP
ZombieEMT

ZombieEMT

Chief Medical Zombie
Premium Member
375
28
28
It’s not an extremely difficult class. However having an EMT teach it could cause some issues

I do not intend on being the lead instructor for the course. My hope would be to bring in an experienced paramedic or nurse to run lead. It is just a course I would like to offer. However, I would like to hold the instructor certification in case of emergency, or to act as an additional instructor if the class size requires due to ratios.
 

wanderingmedic

RN, Paramedic
448
61
28
I genuinely would not recommend it. I teach ACLS, PALS, BLS and basically every other EMS card course you can think of. To really teach a quality ACLS course, you’ll need more pathophysiology, pharmacology, and skills training and clinical practice than an EMT would have. A medic, RN, or doc who has a salty attitude because their employer is forcing them into your card class would chew you up and spit you out. It would be miserable for you, and not a good learning experience for the rest of the class.
In ACLS, you’ll be expected to teach skills and interventions that are way outside of the EMT scope of practice. It would seem disingenuous to be testing and teaching healthcare providers on things you are not formally trained or credentialed to do in your own practice.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
6,226
2,106
113
A medic, RN, or doc who has a salty attitude because their employer is forcing them into your card class would chew you up and spit you out. It would be miserable for you, and not a good learning experience for the rest of the class.
No offense, but a horrible student can make any classes a poor learning experience, and make the instructor miserable. Doesn't matter if it's EMT, ACLS, CPR, whatever. And as the instructor, the fact that they don't want to be there or that their employer is forcing them to be in class isn't my issue; I have no problem booting someone from my class for being disruptive, nor do I have an issue calling their supervisor and explaining that being disruptive in my class is unacceptable.

PHTLS is 80% BLS and maybe 20% ALS.... maybe closer to 10%.....

ACLS is 80% ALS and 20% BLS..... maybe closer to 10%....

Can an EMT take the class? sure. Can they pass it? well, I did.... It isn't rocket science, but the real question is what benefit does it give to the EMT? more knowledge sure, but they can't do anything with it. If they are a paramedic helper on an ambulance they can help out their paramedic, but that's about it.

My PHTLS class I am looking to renew (If I find a class that is less than 2 hours from home, and works with my schedule).... since I'm no longer on the ambulance, I have 0 intention of renewing my ACLS.
 

wanderingmedic

RN, Paramedic
448
61
28
No offense, but a horrible student can make any classes a poor learning experience, and make the instructor miserable. Doesn't matter if it's EMT, ACLS, CPR, whatever. And as the instructor, the fact that they don't want to be there or that their employer is forcing them to be in class isn't my issue; I have no problem booting someone from my class for being disruptive, nor do I have an issue calling their supervisor and explaining that being disruptive in my class is unacceptable.

PHTLS is 80% BLS and maybe 20% ALS.... maybe closer to 10%.....

ACLS is 80% ALS and 20% BLS..... maybe closer to 10%....

Can an EMT take the class? sure. Can they pass it? well, I did.... It isn't rocket science, but the real question is what benefit does it give to the EMT? more knowledge sure, but they can't do anything with it. If they are a paramedic helper on an ambulance they can help out their paramedic, but that's about it.

I strongly encourage EMTs take ACLS for the knowledge, but if I am understanding the OP correctly here; he is talking about becoming an ACLS instructor not just taking the class.

No offense, but a horrible student can make any classes a poor learning experience, and make the instructor miserable. Doesn't matter if it's EMT, ACLS, CPR, whatever. And as the instructor, the fact that they don't want to be there or that their employer is forcing them to be in class isn't my issue; I have no problem booting someone from my class for being disruptive, nor do I have an issue calling their supervisor and explaining that being disruptive in my class is unacceptable.

Agreed, but someone who knew the instructor was way in over their heads and wanted to be pushy about it could easily make the class miserable without any overt inappropriate behavior. For instance a student could start asking questions he/she knows the instructor will have no answer for such as: "at what point do you correct hyperkalemia in a code, anything over 5.5?" or "what if the patient codes while on dialysis, should we discontinue dialysis" or "what is the preferred location for the insertion of a transvenous pacing catheter" or "how should drug doses change if we have a central line" or "if the patient is in liver failure with severe ascites and a high ammonia, should we correct that during the code. How could that affect the pathophysiology here? Should we drain the ascites during the code if we have time?" etc. The aforementioned questions are all questions I have had during ACLS courses with RNs and Docs.

I don't mean to sound harsh here, but I genuinely do not think it is a good idea to let someone who is only and EMT teach an ACLS course. The students will be short changed, and it is just not the right thing to do.
 

mgr22

Forum Deputy Chief
1,668
827
113
ACLS assumes students know the basics of EKGs and ACS-related pharmacology. If you doubt that, go to their website and look at the pretests students have to pass before taking the course. That doesn't rule out the possibility of an EMT taking ACLS, but there'd be lots of supplementary study needed. As for teaching ACLS, I think it would be very difficult for an EMT-level instructor to answer all of the questions students raise. Even nurses without emergency or critical-care backgrounds have trouble relating to some of the material.
 

DrParasite

The fire extinguisher is not just for show
6,226
2,106
113
as the OP originally stated:
I do not intend on being the lead instructor for the course. My hope would be to bring in an experienced paramedic or nurse to run lead. It is just a course I would like to offer. However, I would like to hold the instructor certification in case of emergency, or to act as an additional instructor if the class size requires due to ratios.
One of the "perks" of these canned courses is that the material is pretty specific. If students are asking questions that are outside the scope of the course, such as "what is the preferred location for the insertion of a transvenous pacing catheter" the proper response is "that is a great question, but has nothing to do with this course. Since I don't want to confuse the other students, lets focus on ACLS related topic, and we can discuss your question at at break."

If I remember correctly, one of the assistant instructors in my first ACLS class (this was years ago) was just an EMT. He took the class, mastered the material, and got a 98 or 100 on the final exam, and was offered a chance to become an instructor the next day. He wasn't a lead instructor, but helped out with one section. As long as you know the material, and don't stray too far off the path of what you know, it's doable.

But I do agree, I want my lead instructor to know more than what is simply covered in the workbook..
 
Top