What CPR Certification Do Nurses Need?

Nurses play a vital role in health care, so having a solid understanding of life saving techniques, like Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), is absolutely critical. In emergency situations, CPR can be the determining factor between life and death making it essential for nurses to obtain the certification.

However, with various CPR training options available, it can be confusing to determine the certification needed for nurses. Let’s look at what is available.

Certification in Basic Life Support (BLS)

The Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification is the required and foundational CPR certification for nurses. It covers life saving techniques for adults, children and infants. BLS courses are specifically tailored for healthcare professionals.

Plus, BLS encompasses both individual rescuer scenarios and team based approaches. This certification includes topics such as chest compressions, rescue breaths,  the deployment and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), and the management of airways.

Certification in Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS)

In addition to BLS certification certain nursing specialties may necessitate the attainment of an Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification. While BLS is performed at the start of an emergency, ACLS represents the care that is used to continue treatment.

ACLS training covers basic life support skills, including chest compression, using an AED,  or applying a bag-mask device to give oxygen to a patient. Other recognized skills include:

  • Management of respiration and SCA
  • Identification of VF (ventricular fibrillation) and VT (ventricular tachycardia) on ECG. VT shows that the lower heart chambers are beating faster than normal, but are happening in the right sequence. VF represents the heartbeat process – when the beats are not occurring in the right order.
  • Determination and oversight of peri-arrest conditions
  • Pharmacological considerations
  • Airway management and intubation
  • Management of ACS and stroke. ACS or acute coronary syndrome defines a group of conditions that severely reduce or stop blood flow to the heart muscle. This may lead to heart damage. Unstable angina and heart attack are examples of acute coronary syndromes.
  • Effective communication as a health member of the resuscitation team.

Usually, ACLS certification is a required emergency certification.

The ACLS certification  course  builds upon the core principles covered in BLS training but places an emphasis on managing patients facing cardiac arrest as well as respiratory issues and similar cardiovascular emergencies.

Basically, this certification provides training on recognizing and intervening in situations, such as resuscitation, stroke management and AED operation  in greater detail.

Certification for Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

For nurses working with children, it is advisable to obtain certification in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS). Similar to ACLS but specifically tailored for emergencies involving children, PALS covers the procedures required for addressing respiratory distress or failure, arrhythmias and shock.

The Process of Obtaining CPR Certification

Typically CPR certifications can be obtained through organizations like the American Heart Association (AHA) approved training center like In-Pulse. The certification remains valid for two years after which time recertification is required. This ensures that your skills always stay up to date.

The Disadvantages of Taking an Online Course

Needless to say, in today’s fast-paced society, it’s important for nurses to keep their skills and certifications current. Online doesn’t give us the hands on experience that is necessary

Why In-Person CPR Training Matters

While there are various ways to obtain CPR certification (including online courses), on-site training offers some specific benefits to healthcare facilities and their employees:

Customized Instruction

On-site trainers tailor their instruction to the unique needs of a healthcare facility and its staff. This allows nurses to receive targeted training in the specific situations they may face on the job.

Team Building

Learning life-saving skills with colleagues can foster camaraderie and teamwork. When nurses train together, they learn how to communicate effectively and coordinate their efforts in emergency team situations.

Time Efficiency

Scheduling on-site training can save time and resources by eliminating the need for employees to travel to off-site locations for their classes. This allows nurses to complete their certification requirements more effectively without disrupting their daily work routines

Better Retention of the Study Material

Furthermore, in-person certification course work offers opportunities for better retention of the learning materials. Moreover, if guidelines change or new best practices emerge, a nurse will never fall behind.

Regular Refresher Training

On-site instructors can provide regular refresher courses, ensuring that nurses stay up-to-date with the latest CPR techniques and guidelines. This consistent reinforcement helps improve the overall effectiveness of a healthcare facility’s emergency response.

Summing Everything Up

In conclusion, CPR classes are an essential part of a nurse’s training and skillset. By providing on-site BLS, ACLS, and PALS courses, healthcare facilities can ensure that their nursing staff is prepared to respond confidently and proficiently at critical times. Investing in on-site CPR training not only benefits nurses but also improves patient outcomes by providing timely and efficient emergency care.


Troy Bowman
Troy has been the the VP and CFO of In-Pulse CPR since September, 2009. Troy is married to Mollie who is the owner and TCC for the company. Currently they have 7 children with several of them grown up. Troy enjoys outdoor activities including camping, hiking, and spending time with his family.