Preparing for the PALS Exam: Four Keys to Success

Posted On: 4/4/2011 | By: Shannon Fern

Preparing for the PALS Exam: Four Keys to Success

Pediatric advanced life support (PALS) certification or recertification classes offer course participants pertinent information that will become useful in an emergency situation. Aside from putting lessons into action, you’ll also need to prepare for – and pass – the PALS exam.

Health Education Solutions, which offers online PALS training, certification and recertification, offers the following advice to prepare for PALS exams.

Mind your H’s and your T’s.
Treating infants, toddlers or children is quite different than treating adults. Pediatric general issues, symptoms and treatments can vary greatly. It’s important to be able to identify and treat the six H’s:

  • Hypoxia
  • Hypovolemia
  • Hypothermia
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypo/hyperkalemia
  • Hydrogenion.

And the five T’s:

  • Tamponade
  • Tension pneumothorax
  • Toxins (poisons, drugs)
  • Thrombosis (coronary or pulmonary)
  • Trauma
Take note of the new 2010 guidelines for PALS training.
Previous 2005 recommendations recommend initiating CPR by opening the airway and giving two breaths before chest compressions. With the recent introduction of the 2010 recommendations, CPR for infants and children is to be initiated first with chest compressions.

Additionally, 2010 guidelines offer new recommendations for defibrillator use for infants younger than one year. A manual defibrillator can be used and it’s preferred over an AED. Although, if a manual defibrillator is not available, an AED equipped with a pediatric dose attenuator is acceptable.

Know and execute the PALS exam-supported A-C-D-A assessment.
Treating pediatric patients involves the Assess – Categorize – Decide – Act model. You must first assess the pediatric patient. Then categorize the type and severity of the emergency. Next decide how to proceed with treating and handling the emergency situation. And finally, act.

Don’t skip over case studies or practice questions.
PALS classes offer case studies and practice questions throughout the course. These explanations and prep questions give real world examples and put context around some of the less common treatments and information that is still important to know. Working through the practice questions can be excellent prep for the actual PALS exam.

Health Education Solutions offers certification and recertification courses for PALS. These online courses were designed in partnership with Union College for healthcare professionals or those individuals looking to be prepared in an emergency situation. Also available through Health Education Solutions are ACLS and BLS courses, CPR and AED training, study guides and tips for exams. 


Topics:  PALS  |  Study Guide  |