Dr. Michael Huckabee, PhD, PA-C, has practiced as a clinical physician assistant (PA) in pediatrics for over 25 years, in both emergency room and rural family practice settings. Currently, he serves as Director of the Physician Assistant Program, as well as a professor of Physician Assistant Studies, at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska. Below, Huckabee reveals four things healthcare professionals should know about the pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certification.
- PALS certification provides critical standardization of response in pediatric emergencies.
PALS certification is designed to help healthcare professionals streamline emergency treatment and improve the quality of emergency care for pediatric patients. PALS certifcation has been adopted widely across the United States and allows healthcare providers to share the same language and knowledge about the established protocol of actions to respond to a pediatric emergency.
- PALS certification is based on a team approach to addressing pediatric emergency situations.
Although pediatric advanced life support can be carried out by a single person initially, appropriate care of critically ill children generally necessitates the involvement of multiple healthcare practitioners. The PALS certification facilitates the ease of involvement of multiple parties who must be coordinated and efficient in an emergency.
Any healthcare professional—in pre-hospital and hospital settings alike—who has completed PALS certification can enter an emergency scene and provide help to the responding team rather than distracting people by arguing about care. When everybody in the room has a PALS certification and the same foundational knowledge, information can be shared more easily and patient outcomes are more favorable.
- PALS certification is sometimes required in conjunction with the ACLS (Advanced cardiac life support) certification.
For healthcare practitioners working in strictly pediatric environments, PALS is generally the certification norm, and ACLS certification may not be required. However, many professionals find themselves practicing in healthcare settings that take all comers--including family practice, emergency room and first-response settings—and which consequently require the ability to effectively respond to both adult and pediatric patients. In these healthcare settings, ACLS and PALS certifications are often the required credential package.
- The PALS certification adds value in pediatric emergency care.
While the PALS certification is generally required of healthcare professionals to meet stringent medical accreditation standards, the PALS certification and the standardization it provides also adds genuine value to patient care in all healthcare settings, facilitating a swift, effective response in situations where decisions have to be made – and executed – rapidly and efficiently.
Health Education Solutions offers the cognitive portions of the ACLS and PALS certification courses online. Contact us for more information or to sign up for ALCS certification, ACLS recertification, PALS certification or PALS recertification.
The information included in this article is based on the 2005 guidelines for CPR, first aid and advanced cardiovascular care. Read more about the 2010 changes to the online PALS course.