Some life-saving skills that advanced cardiovascular life support, or ACLS, classes teach include recognizing and managing respiratory arrest, cardiac arrest, symptomatic bradycardia, acute coronary syndrome and stroke, states the American Heart Association. Students also learn about appropriate medications to administer to individuals experiencing these conditions.
Designed for health care providers who routinely care for patients experiencing cardiovascular emergencies, ACLS classes teach life-saving skills while highlighting the importance of working together as a team and using effective communication, according to the American Heart Association. The classes also review basic life support skills such as performing effective chest compressions, using a bag-mask device and operating automated external defibrillators.
During ACLS classroom courses, instructors first present concepts in a large group setting, the American Heart Association explains. Students then break off in smaller groups and visit learning and testing stations, where instructors present real-life scenarios and let students practice their skills. The instructors administer a written test and a skills test at the end of the class. Students typically complete the initial ACLS classroom course in about 10 to 12 hours and the renewal course in about five to six hours. An alternative to the classroom course, called HeartCode ACLS, allows students to learn ACLS concepts at their own pace via web-based instruction.