Nurses must have basic life skills that can save a life in emergencies. Therefore, completing a nursing degree is not the end of education for them. Regardless of whether they are to work in general or intensive care, all nurses must earn at least the basic life support training certification. The two main life support courses are Basic Life Support(BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support(ACLS).

Both BLS and ACLS serve a common objective- saving the life of a patient in cardiac arrest. However, there are several technical differences between the two. For instance, an ACLS course is more advanced and builds on the BLS skills to equip nurses and healthcare professionals for cardiovascular events such as heart attacks.

ACLS only adds to the BLS certification and doesn’t replace the need for training in BLS. Nurses usually have to take the two courses separately.

The Purpose of BLS and ACLS Training 

The theoretical knowledge and practical skills nurses gain in BLS and ACLS training contribute to the survival success rates in hospitals. That is because nurses are the frontline workers who frequently witness the start of an attack and call for help. 

Life support courses are better at equipping nurses to provide first-response care in emergencies to buy time for patients before the actual treatment.

BLS offers first response training, CPR skills, and how to use automated external defibrillators.

On the other hand, ACLS training’s purpose is to offer more advanced care for adults and critically ill patients. Nurses get exposure to;

Prepare nurses to make decisions, act, and take calculated risks fast in the face of a cardiopulmonary event.

Identify the problem, appropriate procedure, and the correct medication to give to a patient to restore regular heart rate.

Teach practical skills in responding to code blue.

Reasons Why They are a Must-Have for Every Nurse

While BLS and ACLS are critical for saving lives, there are benefits to nurses with these certifications.

1. Raise Nurses’ Reputation

Entry-level and average nurses have at most a BLS certification as a work requirement. Going the extra mile, whether a nurse works in specialty areas or not, indicates an ability to master different skills. 

2. Increase Technical Knowledge

The BLS and ACLS training gives nurses technical skills to administer better patient care. Today healthcare is reporting more and more cases of chronic illnesses leading to a demand for nurses with additional practical skills. 

3.Competitive Advantage

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts an increase of up to 4 million jobs by 2026 in a recent news release. In a pool like that, having a BLS certification is not going to be enough. Nursing professionals are going to need to differentiate themselves by gaining an edge. A great starting point would be to ensure they take both BLS and ACLS certification courses.

4.Saves Lives

Life support training can be the difference between life and death for critically ill patients. A nurse with this type of training can easily step in and save the patient. Studies reveal an increase in survival and discharge rates in patients under post-trained nurses.

5.Boosts Confidence

A nurse’s greatest fulfillment is being able to support the team. Confidence in these skills places nurses as better leaders and team collaborators.


Whereas BLS is not as extensive as ACLS, both have a significant role in the respective application areas. Any nurse who is serious about scaling the professional ladder and making a difference must complete the two courses. Yet, being careful to seek training from accredited institutions.