In 2010, the American Heart Association (AHA) released new guidelines for first aid and life support courses, which impact PALS questions and answers in the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 certification and recertification exams. But what happens if you passed the PALS test prior to the new AHA guidelines and were certified based on the 2005 guidelines?
Michael Huckabee, PhD, PA-C, director of the Union College Physician Assistant program and curriculum developer for Health Education Solutions, explains it here.
What types of PALS questions and answers might I see on my exam?
The questions in the 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014 exams will be similar to those seen in PALS certification exams that were based on 2005 guidelines. These new tests will simply take the new guidelines into consideration. Here is a sampling of the types of questions you might see:
- Question 1: You arrive at the scene of an unresponsive child in cardiac arrest, and appropriate CPR is being performed with a patent airway observed. An AED has been placed and the report was “no shock indicated.” In addition to assessing for reversible causes for the child’s condition, what is the next step?
- Attempt endotracheal intubation.
- Discontinue CPR.
- Check the patient’s pulse.
- Obtain IV or IO access.
- Question 2: Which of the following is not appropriate for the treatment of symptomatic bradycardia?
- Transcutaneous pacing/
- Question 3: When is it appropriate to use the smaller pediatric paddles for shock delivery?
- When synchronized cardioversion is indicated rather than defibrillation.
- If the child weighs less than 25 kg or is younger than 8 years.
- When the size of the clinician’s hand is larger than the width of the child’s chest.
- If the child weighs less than 10 kg or is younger than 1 year.
- Question 4: Once asystole has been confirmed in a patient, which of the following steps has first priority?
- Obtain a medical history.
- Establish IV/IO access.
- Attempt vagal maneuvers.
- Question 5: What is the key to successful resuscitation for asystole?
- Immediate shock with an AED.
- Determining the cause of the absent electrical activity.
- Use of antiarrhythmic medications to restore coordinated electrical activity.
- Urgent endotracheal tube placement.
When will instructors for ACLS and PALS online certification teach the new guidelines?
Health Education Solutions online ACLS courses reflected the new guidelines in the first quarter of 2011 and will remain effective throughout 2012, 2013 and 2014. Training for in-person skills test instructors will continue throughout 2011. Until instructors are trained with the new guidelines, they’re instructed to continue to use the previous guidelines from 2005.
Do I have to complete the PALS questions and answers again?
No, those individuals with certification under the 2005 guidelines aren’t “grandfathered” in under the new guidelines, but they also don’t have to take another course and answer another set of PALS test questions before their two-year PALS certification expires. Individuals trained under the earlier guidelines should continue to perform according to the 2005 standards until they are trained under the new 2010 guidelines.
Are the new PALS questions and answers, 2011 exams more effective?
The new recommendations don’t suggest that earlier guidelines and PALS test answers were unsafe or ineffective; they’re simply more up-to-date.
Health Education Solutions provides valuable tools for healthcare professionals and other individuals looking to be prepared in emergency situations. These tools include the ACLS test, PALS exam, and a variety of other life support and first aid certifications. These courses were created in coalition with Union College and updated in the first quarter of 2011 in consideration of the 2010 guidelines.