It can be difficult to know the difference between different medical certifications. For example, Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) are very similar in that they share the same goals of learning the proper techniques for providing lifesaving care to someone in cardiac arrest.
Beyond that, however, the two contain some notable differences. We’ll see. BLS training, or basic life support training, focuses on fundamental lifesaving skills. For some people, the Fundamental Life Support (BLS) certification, which includes training in basic lifesaving procedures like CPR, may be sufficient for the selected job path.
These individuals may include teachers, coaches, childcare professionals, and anyone who works with large groups of people. The most important difference between ACLS and BLS is the level of advancement between the two. ACLS is essentially a more advanced and sophisticated course that builds on the basic foundations you develop during BLS – as both names suggest. However, there is much more to it.
However, for those pursuing a career in healthcare, BLS usually serves as a foundation for additional knowledge that requires an ACLS course and more in-depth training.
What is BLS certification?
The American Heart Association (AHA) provides two distinct routes to Basic Life Support (BLS) certification: one for qualified medical professionals and one for untrained members of the general public. The health worker course is restricted to nursing students and licensed nurses themselves. The following topics will be covered throughout the duration of this course:
- CPR for adults, children, and infants
- AHA chain of survival
- Using an AED
- Effective ventilation using a barrier device
- CPR for two people
- Removal of airway obstruction by a foreign body (choking) in adults and infants
What is Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification?
ACLS is specifically designed for professional healthcare providers who care for critically ill adults and is aimed at individuals who work in hospital settings. Paramedics who work in the emergency room or ICU will be required to have this certificate. Medical-surgical nurses are not required but are strongly encouraged to take the ACLS course. Recommendation: if the course is offered and recommended – take it!
ACLS stands for Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support. At ACLS, healthcare professionals use algorithms to treat life-threatening conditions such as cardiac arrest, heart attack, coronary syndrome, stroke, and other emergencies. ACLS also involves interpreting the patient’s heart rhythm using an electrocardiogram. Treatment options are then decided based on the heart rhythm.
Basic Life Support certification refers to the necessary training to perform basic life support functions. This is, of course, a requirement for health care providers and paramedics in their jobs. However, it is often a requirement for other professions as well, such as teachers, librarians, lifeguards, trainers, kindergarten workers, and nursing home workers. During BLS certification training, you will learn basic lifesaving skills that can be used when you encounter a cardiac arrest or heart attack victim.
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support certification is a process of learning the skills and techniques necessary to manage all advanced cardiovascular emergencies properly. It teaches trainees how to improve patient outcomes by maintaining patient life and maintaining neurological function following cardiovascular events such as a heart attack or stroke. The following will be the primary focuses of Advanced Cardiac Life Support training:
- Understanding basic life support
- Recognize and manage cardiac and respiratory arrest?
- Lead a resuscitation team?
- Advanced airway management skills
- Pharmacology of ACLS
A healthcare background is not required to complete and complete the BLS course. However, the same cannot be said for ACLS.
Students who enroll in the latter course are often needed to have previously completed Basic Life Support (BLS), in addition to possessing some level of medical understanding. For instance, a sizeable section of the ACLS exam will probably be devoted to the subject of reading and comprehending ECG results, which is something that is covered in BLS at the fundamental level. Before starting ACLS, having this foundation is something that is extremely suggested to have.
Due to their basic nature, BLS courses do not include any training or instruction in the administration of drugs and other medications in the event of a medical emergency. Conversely, ACLS training and certification include this information. In your ACLS course, you will learn about different drugs, what they are used for, and how they work. By the time you become ACLS certified, you will know which medications are required in different scenarios, at what dosages, and how to properly administer them.
While the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) is covered in both BLS and ACLS courses, the ACLS course also includes the use of other tools and equipment, such as intravenous medications and intubation materials, to name a few. The ACLS course also covers the emergency algorithms that paramedics need to know to provide lifesaving care to a critical patient.
BLS vs. ACLS?
The ability to do cardiopulmonary resuscitation, more often known as CPR, is one of the prerequisites for becoming a registered nurse. ACLS certification is typically required of registered nurses (RNs) who work in hospital settings and provide care for persons who are critically ill.
Where to get ACLS and BLS certifications?
ACLS and BLS certifications can be obtained at various training centers and healthcare organizations in the country. When choosing a certification provider, it is essential to consider whether the training center adheres to American Heart Association or American Red Cross guidelines. Before applying for any certification course in BLS and ACLS, you may want to check with your employer to determine the best course of action.
There are many variances that can be found between the materials used for BLS and those used for ACLS tests. If you’re not sure which option is right for you, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
We’re happy to point you in the right direction and ensure that the online medical certification you end up with is exactly what you need to move your career forward.