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Everything You Need to Know About the ALS

Hi, I am Neenu, a doctor from India working in the NHS as an SHO in Acute Medicine. ALS is an important and absolutely necessary course that is required for any doctor doing on-calls in the NHS. It is a certificate course that is valid for 4 years and is an essential certificate for entering training programs in various specialties.

In today's blog, I will be discussing the following:

1. What is the ALS course, and how much does it cost? 2. How is the course structured? 3. How is the course assessed? 4. My experience of the course

What is the ALS Course, and how much does it cost?

ALS, or Advanced Life Support, is a 2-day course run by the Resuscitation Council of the UK, which enables healthcare professionals to become competent and confident in managing arrest calls. The cost of this course can be anything from 400-600GBP depending on the centre that you book.

I attended the ALS course organised by my Trust, and it was 400GBP. Since we have a study budget, about half of this money is reimbursed as part of the study budget.

What happens when you book the ALS Course?

You will get registered on to the Learning Management System (LMS) of the Resus Council UK. Here you would gain access to the pre-course learning modules and videos, which you should learn prior to attending the course. You would also need to complete a pre-course MCQ through the LMS before you attend the 2-day course.

About a month before your ALS course, you would get the ALS handbook, which I suggest you read extensively before going to the course as it will help massively in getting good scores in the MCQ.

How is the course structured?

During these two days, you will be taught and assessed on various topics and skills that are essential to manage an arrest call, such as A to E assessment in a deteriorating patient, effective CPR, and non-technical skills such as leadership and team working.

When you come for the course, you will be divided into different groups of 5-6 candidates. This group will be the team with which you will practice all the CAS scenarios and attend the demo session. This was the structure of my ALS course:

Day 1:

08:15 Candidate registration and faculty meeting

09:00 Lecture – Introduction to the ALS course 09:10 Lecture – Recognition and Prevention of Deterioration 09:35 Lecture– Cardiac Causes of Cardiac Arrest 09:55 Demo – CAS Demo and ALS Algorithm

*Tea and Coffee Break* 11:00 – 12:40 Skill station and workshop - Associated Resuscitation skills - ABCDE Approach - EZ-IO and Capnography *Lunch Break* 13:15 -15:15 – CPR and Defib Demo + Rhythm recognition

*Coffee break* 15:25 – Lecture – Post-resuscitation care 15:55-17:25 – Cardiac Arrest Simulations (CAS) Teaching Sessions

17:25 – Candidate feedback in groups

Day 2:

08:30 Coffee and groups meeting

08:40 Peri-arrest Workshops 08:45 – 10:15 Assessing and treating Tachycardia and Bradycardia

*Tea and Coffee Break* 10:30–11:15 ABG analysis

11:20–13:00 Special Circumstances Workshops [Asthma, Anaphylaxis, Choking, Drowning…] *Lunch Break* 13:40-15:10 CAS Teaching Sessions

*Tea and Coffee Break* 15:25 MCQ and CAS Test

How is the Course assessed?

Throughout the course, the instructors will be assessing you, so be prepared and try to be proactive and lead in each demo session. At the end of the 2-day course, there will be an MCQ and CAS Test which you need to pass.

The MCQ test will be from the topics that were taught during the 2 days and also from the handbook. The CAS test will be exactly like how you practiced in those two days, where you need to manage and lead a Cardiac Arrest call.

What if you fail?

- If you fail the MCQs and have passed all the other assessments, then you will get another chance to give the MCQ, maybe not on the same day.

- If you passed the MCQ and failed the CAS Test, you will be given another scenario on the same day.

- If you fail the second time, you may be given a third scenario on the same day or another CAS Test after about 3 months.

My experience of the course

ALS is an absolutely brilliant course that will help you when you face difficult situations in the hospital. The two days will be so intense and stressful, but the knowledge and skills you gain from attending it are worth all of it.

I took this course after working in the NHS for about 6 months, and I could feel the change in my approach to patients after taking the course. It makes you a competent doctor and a confident LEADER.

I wish I had taken it earlier; however, the earlier dates were all booked. I would recommend all of you to take this course as soon as possible if you want to become better at these situations.

I took 2 days of study leave just before the course and read the book extensively. This is really important to pass the MCQs. I would not say I wasn't tensed for the exam, but the instructors were so friendly and good that I felt relaxed throughout the course. Even though they teach you a lot of things during the course, in the final CAS test, they only expect you to


The final CAS Test will be a common scenario like a patient with sepsis where you have to initially do an A to E assessment, and in between the scenario, the patient arrests – and you then have to manage that by leading. It becomes so easy if you know the algorithms by heart and practice as much as you can during those 2 days.

Is ALS necessary for getting your first job in the UK?

No, having an ALS doesn't guarantee you will get a job. In fact, since this course is expensive, it is better if you do this course after you get the job as you will be able to claim some money back as part of your study budget. However, do this course as soon as possible once you start working in the NHS.

Important Tips for Your ALS Course

Start your preparation early

Read the book extensively – minimum 2 times.

Revise all the ALS algorithms – shockable, non-shockable, tachycardia, bradycardia, anaphylaxis, choking, and many more.

There is a website called MCQ Posts - ALS - MCQ (, which has a lot of questions similar to the MCQ exam. If you have time to go through this website, please do so.

You can learn more about the ALS course here:

Need Some Help?

TrewLink has an amazing website that will help you in your journey to the UK. If you need any help or guidance with regard to your exam preparation and journey to the UK, you can always approach us here.

You can register using this link I hope my post will help those of you who are preparing for the ALS.

Good luck,

Dr. Neenu


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