With critical care pharmacy surfacing as a staple in intensive care, prospective pharmacists now complete high levels of life support training to increase patient survival.
Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) is a team-based response strategy used to optimize the survival of patients in life-threatening cardiac emergencies. Pharmacist participation on these rapid-response teams is associated with lower mortality rates, emphasizing a need for future pharmacists to get trained.
“Pharmacy students on their Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experience rotations in the hospital setting will likely encounter code situations. Many of the treatment algorithms require pharmaceutical intervention, and it is valuable for pharmacy students to be involved and educated on how to treat patients in these situations,” said Meghan Tolan PharmD’14, who became ACLS certified in 2013.
Prior to taking the course, students are expected to understand pharmacological aspects specific to cardiopulmonary arrest and reach proficiency in identifying cardiac arrhythmias. Basic Life Support for Healthcare Provider certification is also required.
“As part of the curriculum at USciences, student pharmacists receive didactic education regarding ACLS that is reinforced through high-fidelity mannequin simulation,” said Angela L. Bingham PharmD, BCPS, BCNSP, (pictured above) an assistant professor of clinical pharmacy at USciences' Philadelphia College of Pharmacy (PCP).
To achieve ACLS certification, students must then complete a 12-hour training program through the American Heart Association. Developing their skills, students practice and perform these life-saving interventions at an on-campus simulation laboratory.
Three PCP students have completed the certification thus far, including Tolan, Julia Weiner PharmD’14, and Michael Flacco, Jr., PharmD’15.
“By developing fundamentals in basic life support, management approaches for various life-threatening situations, related pharmacology, and effective resuscitation team dynamics, Julia, Meghan, and Michael are ready to save lives when they become licensed pharmacists,” said Dr. Bingham.
Trained critical care pharmacists will use their expertise to assist in a variety of scenarios as part of an interdisciplinary team. To find more information on ACLS certification, email Dr. Bingham at email@example.com.
Article written by Christine Luczka
University of the Sciences Marketing and Communications Dept.