American Heart Association Course Guidelines
The goal of the PALS course is to improve the quality of care provided to seriously ill or injured children, resulting in improved outcomes. The PALS course uses a series of videos and simulated pediatric emergencies to reinforce the important concepts of a systematic approach to pediatric assessment, basic life support, PALS treatment algorithms, effective resuscitation, and team dynamics.
The PALS course is designed for healthcare professionals who either direct or participate in the management of respiratory and/or cardiovascular emergencies and cardiopulmonary arrest in pediatric patients. This includes personnel in emergency response, emergency medicine, intensive care, and critical care units — such as physicians, nurses, and paramedics — as well as others who need a PALS course completion card for job or other requirements.
Before taking the PALS course, students must pass the online PALS Precourse Self-Assessment with a score of 70% or higher. This test is part of the PALS student Web site (access granted with purchase of the PALS Provider Manual).
After successfully completing the PALS course, students should be able to:
- perform high-quality child CPR AED and infant CPR per American Heart Association basic life support recommendations
- differentiate between patients who do and patients who do not require immediate intervention
- recognize cardiopulmonary arrest early, and begin CPR within 10 seconds
- apply team dynamics
- differentiate between respiratory distress and respiratory failure, and perform early interventions for both
- differentiate between compensated and decompensated (hypotensive) shock, and perform early interventions for the treatment of shock
- differentiate between unstable and stable patients with arrhythmias
- describe clinical characteristics of instability in patients with arrhythmias
- implement post-cardiac-arrest management.
Upon successful completion of the course, including achieving a score of 84% or higher on the course exam, students receive a PALS course completion card that is valid for two years.