I went through ACLS training yesterday and today and emerged certified (with 100% on my written exam, to boot!). I will feel MUCH more comfortable working on my unit with this certification. When I left my last shift, one of my patients was in increasing runs of v-tach. I'd been calling his cardiologist fairly regularly all night (who didn't hang up on me, weirdly) and had just hung an amidodarone drip, but the V-tach was up to runs of 30. The charge nurse was helping me out because I had three other patients and was forced to ask for a bailout, and I was really suspicious that my patient would require an "unelective" cardioversion in short order, which I was then unqualified to perform. So I left him at shift change with pads on and a crash cart outside the room. I left at a fast clip, happy to escape. I shouldn't have had patients like that without ACLS training/certification, so I'm extremely happy to have it. That night was pretty cray-zee all around. My patients all went downhill in some fashion and necessitated multiple physician pages, and none of them hung up on me. That made it a red-letter day. For some reason, they usually hang up on me, generally after biting my head off. These were all a tolerant bunch---pretty nice dudes, although one did say, "What exactly do you think I can DO at 2:00 in the morning?" (Me: "That's why I'm calling. I'm out of ideas.")
But again, nights like that night are showing me how very much I'm progressing in a short time. I would not have been able to handle that shift in any way a few months ago. I had to ask for help, but I think any nurse would have. Four deteriorating critical care patients = not a load anyone can reasonably handle. And my asking for help was controlled; I wasn't panicking and running around without any idea what to do. I was able to do it like, "Can you please do x, y, and z?" rather than "Help! I have no idea where to start or what to do!"