The Resuscitation Council (UK) Advanced Life Support (ALS) course is a standardised national course teaching evidence-based resuscitation guidelines and skills to healthcare professionals in the United Kingdom. The ALS course has also been adopted by the European Resuscitation Council (ERC) and the Australian Resuscitation Council (ARC).
ALS courses are held at centres throughout the UK and are approved and certified by the Resuscitation Council (UK). This ensures a uniformity of content and standard regardless of the centre.
The ALS course teaches the knowledge and skills required to:
- recognise and treat the deteriorating patient using a structured ABCDE approach
- treat cardiac and/or respiratory arrest, including starting CPR, manual defibrillation, lifethreatening
- arrhythmias, and post resuscitation care
- care for the deteriorating patient or patient in cardiac and/or respiratory arrest in special
- circumstances such as anaphylaxis, and pregnancy
- lead a team, work as a team member, and use structured communication skills including
- giving an effective handover.
Who the course is aimed at:
The ALS provider course is designed for healthcare professionals who would be expected to apply the skills taught as part of their clinical duties, or to teach them on a regular basis. Appropriate participants include doctors, and nurses working in critical care areas (e.g. ED, CCU, ICU, HDU, operating theatres, acute medical admissions units) or in the resuscitation/ medical emergency team, and paramedics.
All applicants must hold a current clinical appointment and professional healthcare qualification or be in training for a professional healthcare qualification.
Medical students, nurses and other healthcare providers not covered in the groups above should be encouraged to complete the Immediate Life Support (ILS) course. Those with a particular interest in resuscitation should then consider attending an ALS provider course, where appropriate. Medical students in their final year of training can be accepted as candidates on an ALS course if this is an established local arrangement.
Prior competence in CPR is an essential prerequisite to attending the course.
The course is very intensive and candidates are sent the ALS manual one month prior to the course. Candidates are required to complete a pre-course multiple choice questionnaire (MCQ) on the LMS before attending the course.
The course we run is delivered over 2 days. There is a high ratio of instructors to candidates. The course includes core lectures and interactive workshops. The face-to-face teaching is mainly delivered in small groups with hands-on practical skill stations and clinically-based simulations. The simulations are designed to develop team and communication skills using the resuscitation skills and knowledge acquired during the course.
Assessment & Certification
Continuous assessment occurs throughout the ALS course, which is based on clinical simulations that allow candidates to demonstrate the core competencies that have been taught on the course. These include airway management, initial assessment and resuscitation and cardiac arrest management. A final assessment of candidates at the end of the course takes the form of management of a cardiac arrest simulation and a multiple choice questionnaire.
Successful candidates receive a Resuscitation Council (UK) ALS Provider certificate, which is valid for 4 years.
The ALS course is recognised for continuing professional development. As the systems vary between organisations, candidates should check with their respective professional bodies for the latest requirements.
The course cost is £450 – this includes course manual, daytime catering, certificate & resuscitation Council UK fees (£28 for the course manual & £26 registration).
Web link for Resuscitation Council UK fact sheet: