Best AHA PALS Skills Test Certification Review

Welcome to our detailed guide on the American Heart Association’s Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Skills Test. This assessment is designed to test your practical application of life-saving skills in pediatric emergencies, following completion of your online coursework. Let’s explore what you’ll need to master before the big day.

PALS Skills Test: Intravenous Access and Intraosseous Devices

A key skill in PALS skills test is learning to administer intravenous (IV) access. Specifically, you’ll need to be proficient in using intraosseous (IO) devices.

IO devices are used when conventional IV access is difficult or impossible, such as in severe shock or cardiac arrest. You’ll need to know the correct placement sites, including the proximal tibia, distal tibia, and distal femur. Additionally, understanding the contraindications for IO use, such as fractured bones or previously infused IO sites, is vital. This knowledge could make the difference in a time-critical emergency.

PALS Skills Test: Airway Management Skills

Airway management is a fundamental skill in any life-saving procedure. This will also be a part of your PALS Skills test. You’ll need to understand the differences between high flow and low flow oxygen devices. High flow devices, like non-rebreather masks, provide a higher concentration of oxygen and are typically used in more severe cases. Low flow devices, like nasal cannulas, deliver less oxygen and are used for patients who need a lower or more variable amount of oxygen.

Additionally, you should be proficient in using both Oropharyngeal Airways (OPAs) and Nasopharyngeal Airways (NPAs), knowing when each is appropriate. These devices are used to maintain or open a patient’s airway.

Your ability to provide rescue breaths, knowing the frequency and method, will also be examined. Furthermore, you should understand Endotracheal Tube (ETT) placement and the specific indications for its use, such as when a patient is unable to maintain their own airway or requires drug administration.

PALS Skills Test: Child and Infant CPR

CPR skills are of course, a cornerstone of PALS skills test to obtain certification. You’ll need to demonstrate competence in both child and infant CPR techniques, understanding the key differences between them.

When performing CPR on a child, the compression-to-breath ratio should be 30:2 if you are the only rescuer. If there are two rescuers, this changes to 15:2.

For infants, the techniques are slightly different due to their size and physiological differences. Here, the two rescuer compression-to-breath ratio is also 15:2.

PALS Skills Test: Rhythm Disturbances

Your ability to recognize and respond to rhythm disturbances is crucial. You’ll need to demonstrate how to apply a cardiac monitor correctly and interpret the results. Moreover, you should be able to take accurate blood pressure readings and assess oxygen saturation levels.

Understanding the various rhythms, such as sinus tachycardia, sinus bradycardia, and ventricular fibrillation, and knowing the appropriate treatments for each, is essential.

PALS Skills Test: Defibrillation and Cardioversion

Being able to correctly apply defibrillation and cardioversion techniques in pediatric patients is another key skill. These are used to restore a normal heart rhythm in cases of life-threatening arrhythmias.

You should know the correct energy doses for defibrillation and cardioversion in children, as well as the safety aspects to consider when using these procedures.

PALS Skills Test: PALS Respiratory, Shock, and Cardiac Scenarios

Finally, you’ll be assessed on your ability to recognize and treat PALS respiratory, shock, and cardiac scenarios for your PALS skills test. This will involve identifying symptoms and implementing appropriate treatments. You can expect to encounter one of each scenario during the assessment.

In the respiratory scenario, you may need to identify symptoms such as wheezing or cyanosis, and provide appropriate interventions. In the shock and cardiac scenarios, you’ll need to determine the type of shock or cardiac event based on the presenting symptoms and apply the corresponding treatment.

By thoroughly preparing for these areas, you’ll be well-equipped to provide advanced life support to pediatric patients in a range of emergency situations. Remember, the key to success in your AHA PALS Skills Test is solid preparation. Study diligently, practice regularly, and you’ll be ready to excel in your assessment.