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BLS ACLS and PALS_What's the difference

BLS, ACLS and PALS Certifications: What’s the Difference?

If you’re a nursing student, you may be wondering what’s the difference between BLS, ACLS and PALS certifications. The truth is, there’s a lot of overlap between these certifications, but they each have their own unique focus. Let’s take a closer look at each certification and discuss what you can expect to learn. So when it comes time to get the certification you need, deciding would be easy!

BLS, ACLS and PALS

As nurses, we are the first point of contact for patients and their families. We play an important role in providing care and support. We also have a vital role in emergency situations. That’s why we need to equip ourselves with the skills and knowledge to deal with cardiac and respiratory emergencies. And that’s where BLS, ACLS and PALS training comes in.

BLS, ACLS and PALS are all acronyms for medical training courses offered by the American Heart Association. If you’re planning on taking any of these courses, you can expect to learn things like CPR, how to use an AED and how to recognize cardiac rhythms. In other words, these courses will teach you how to save lives. Now let’s take a look at their difference.

Basic Life Support (BLS)

Basic Life Support, or BLS, is the basic medical care that is given to a patient who has suffered a sudden, potentially life-threatening injury. Its goal is to stabilize the patient and prevent further harm.

Trained medical professionals perform Basic Life Support but laypeople with minimal training can also provide this. Always remember to remain calm and focused when giving BLS. The following are some of the most important basic life support procedures:

• administering CPR

• using an automated external defibrillator (AED)

• clearing an obstructed airway

• controlling bleeding

Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)

Advanced Cardiac Life Support, or ACLS, is a course designed to provide immediate treatment to someone in the midst of a cardiac arrest. It builds on the foundation of BLS and provides more advanced training. These guidelines provide a step-by-step approach to managing cardiac emergencies, from initial assessment to defibrillation. ACLS aims to prevent death or permanent damage to the brain by restoring blood flow to the heart and lungs.

You may also use other treatments like defibrillation and medication to restore normal heart function. While ACLS can be lifesaving, it is essential to remember that it is not a cure for cardiac arrest or heart disease. Rather, it is a set of protocols designed to provide immediate treatment in order to improve the chances of survival.

Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS)

Pediatric Advanced Life Support, or PALS, is a course that focuses specifically on resuscitation techniques for infants and children. It is a modified version of the adult Advanced Cardiac Life Support guidelines.

PALS focuses on a few key differences between pediatric and adult physiology, including the smaller size of infants and children, their higher respiration rates, and their higher percentage of body fat. PALS also includes specific instructions for managing pediatric cardiac arrest with minimal equipment.

The goal of PALS is to provide high-quality care for infants and children in cardiac arrest, with the aim of improving outcomes.


While all three courses are important, each one has a different focus and set of patients. So it’s important to choose the right course based on your nursing field. That’s it, friends. I hope this helps you understand the training that you need once you graduate and start working as a nurse. Good luck!

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If you’re getting a BLS or PALS certification instead, click here:
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