A Dear John Letter to the American Heart Association ACLS Class

Dear AHA ACLS Class,

It is time we end our relationship and see other people.  We both know that we have been just going through the motions for the past few years.


I wish I could use the cliché “it’s not you, it’s me,” but that would be lying. It is you.

You changed; you used to care about things like performance. Lately the only things you seem to care about are sitting in a dark room watching DVDs all day, the internet and making money.

You used to know right from wrong, now you say things like “Megacode testing is optional.” [1]

How can you say terrible, hurtful things like that? I can’t even imagine what you are trying to do by saying that.

These days I don’t even know who you are. You really let yourself go.

You used to have standards; you used to care about really making a difference in the world and holding people accountable. At the beginning of our relationship, years ago, you expected the most out of people and prepared them to perform. Now you are so damn apathetic and say things like, “whatever, they just need the card so they can work.” I feel like I don’t even know you anymore.

And that is the thing that really hurts, I know you are capable of doing much more than how things have been lately.

I hope we can remain friends.

PS: You can come by and pick up your DVDs when I’m at work.

  1. ACLS Heartcode FAQ

2 thoughts on “A Dear John Letter to the American Heart Association ACLS Class

  1. Old ACLS or new ACLS. Was one better than the other for patient outcomes?

    Educational methodology optimally drives towards highest possibility of knowledge retention and then increasing capability of students to apply that knowledge to improve a patient outcome.

    If a megacode test doesn’t improve knowledge retention and or improve patient outcome it’s a merely interesting component of the course.


    1. My main issue is what is the goal of ACLS class? What are we hoping to accomplish by ensuring it is the de facto certification almost everyone needs?

      I will go you one further…Does ensuring providers have an ACLS card change outcomes?

      Should it be the same goal for all who take the class? Should it be an “awareness” level class where people know to give “the gold box” every several minutes or should it be something where they have to perform and be able to manage a cardiac arrest?

      I would be happier if there was an “awareness” level required for those who will never be the decision maker in the situation and something more like an “operator” level for those that run the code. Although, can you imagine if we had providers going around saying, “Yeah, I am an ACLS Operator.”


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