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What do You Mean by BCLS Certification in Nursing?

What do You Mean by BCLS Certification in Nursing?

BCLS stands for 'Basic Cardiac Life Support'. This CareerStint article delves deeper into what it means by a BCLS certification in nursing.
CareerStint Staff
Quick Tip
If you wish to enroll in a BCLS certification program, irrespective of whether you have a similar background or not, contact the American Red Cross (ARC) or the American Heart Association (AHA) to help you find the nearest accredited training center.

Some hospitals require their nurses to have certain essential education along with/apart from a college degree. This includes some basic and advanced certifications. Some of them are CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation), First Aid, BLS (Basic Life Support), PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), BCLS (Basic Cardiac Life Support), ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), etc. One need not undergo all these training modules (certainly not all at once), but certain health care organizations demand the same. You need to know in detail, what these courses contain and how they are structured. In the article below, you will find how to get the BCLS certification in nursing along with the other related details, like cost and duration.
An Overview
  • As already mentioned, BCLS is the first level of emergency medical support administered to people dealing with cardiac arrests.
  • Do not get confused between CPR and BCLS, they may sound the same, but they are different from each other.
  • The former is used to restore breath and blood circulation, and while the latter is used in a similar situation, it involves a further evaluation of the patient.
  • It is required for stabilizing the airways and controlling the breathing levels until the emergency medic arrives.
  • BCLS is a minimum requirement by most hospitals these days.
  • Undergoing this training will teach you how to assist people of all ages - from toddlers to the elderly.
Certification Process
  • To begin with, you have to enroll in a class that conducts these courses.
  • Typically, it will not last more than a day or two.
  • Whatever is taught to you in your course may be subject to change depending on your state, however, there will not be any major differences.
  • Also, the standard medical authorities set the syllabus and exam dates, so they make sure the curriculum remains the same (more or less).
  • After the course, you will probably give your exam on the same day.
  • You can repeat the exam if you miss it due to any personal/other reason, but you have to wait until the course is offered again.
  • After you pass the exam with successful grades, you will be awarded the BCLS certification.
Eligibility Criteria
  • Unlike a CPR, not everyone can take this exam.
  • In most cases though, the training is open to the public; however, there are exceptions with regards to the place from where you can obtain training.
  • Many hospitals and clinics extend the training module solely for their employees.
  • If you do not have any background in health care and wish to enroll in the course only for knowledge, you may have to pay a higher fee, depending on your training institute.
  • Doctors, nurses, and all health care professionals must be BCLS-certified. This may include private nurses, assistants for the elderly, as well as babysitters and nannies.
Course Details
  • Point one, you are taught how you are supposed to evaluate the seriousness of the patient's condition.
  • You will be taught how to regulate the victim's breathing, stabilize his airways, and restore blood circulation so that oxygen reaches his brain and he is temporarily out of the critical situation of slipping into a comatose.
  • You will be taught how to give CPR during emergency situations.
  • The technique of operating AEDs is an important part of the course.
  • An AED (Automated External Defibrillator) is a machine that enables a dead heart to beat again. This is done by means of electromagnetic therapy.
  • In addition, the course also instructs you about taking care of yourself. Surprised? Don't be, the reason for this is that health care providers are at a risk when taking care of patients.
  • This is especially true in case of severe accidents, floods, earthquakes, epidemics, etc., where the patients could be exposed to a variety of dreadful diseases.
  • Health care providers are at a risk of contracting those infections, and if they operate another patient around the same time, many people are at a risk of getting infected.
  • They should also avoid direct blood-to-blood contact.
  • All these safety techniques and barrier methods are explained in the course.
  • The course duration is of about 8 to 9 hours, it can be covered within a day or over a weekend.
  • Your fees will vary according to the place from where you enroll.
  • You can take the course at community libraries, local hospitals and clinics, accredited institutes, training workshops, and community colleges.
Exam Details
  • Your exam dates will be provided by the institute. Generally, you give it on that day itself.
  • The exam is divided into theory and practical tests.
  • Your theory written exam will consist of multiple choice questions and the questions will be based on whatever you learned that day.
  • Your practical exam is taken to give you some hands-on training. You will have to demonstrate practically, whatever you have learned so far.
  • The practical testing generally takes place by means of a dummy figure.
  • Mostly, these dummies will be connected to certain machines or will be battery-operated to test if you are right in your assessment and treatment or not.
  • The certification you will receive will last you until its expiration, i.e., for two years, generally.
  • You have to renew it and keep it updated, i.e., you must take the course again (mostly), or else, the certificate is of no use.
Exploring Online
  • If you are not able to enroll for any BCLS training class nearby, you can consider earning the certification online.
  • There are several options available to you on the web, you can enroll for tutorials and complete the training faster.
  • This process has a glitch though, you cannot avail the hands-on practical training, you will only give the theory exam.
  • However, there are many sites that require the participants of their program to attend live training, at centers close to their residence.
  • Preferably, it is better to take the course through a good institute.
Points to Remember
  • A BCLS certification is between a CPR and an ACLS certification.
  • An ACLS certification includes an advanced coursework certainly, and takes longer as well (almost up to 30 hours).
  • You have to renew your credentials after expiry.
  • Do not forget to be equipped with safety gear, like a mouth mask, in case you suddenly find yourself in an emergency.
  • Your fees are inclusive of the government and service tax.
  • BCLS does not teach anything about invasive procedures.

Any kind of medical emergency procedure is risky; at that precise, critical moment, you are holding a person's life in your hands. Therefore, it is important that you remain calm and extremely alert. Your timely action may save an innocent victim from a grave medical emergency.