What are the important life support certifications in emergency medicine?

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) believes board certification by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) demonstrates comprehensive training, knowledge and skill in the practice of emergency medicine. Although short course completion (examples below) may serve as evidence of focused review, the topics covered in such courses are part of the core curriculum of emergency medicine. Therefore, maintenance of ABEM certification does not require ABEM physicians to take these courses.

In addition, ACEP believes the Comprehensive Advanced Life Support (CALS) course is a valuable educational experience and is an equally acceptable alternative to other advanced life support and/or trauma life support courses. CALS may be of particular value to those who practice rural emergency medicine, as it is more comprehensive than other life support courses.

There are additional life support courses that can be completed including Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS), Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), CALS and Basic Trauma Life Support (BTLS), or a specified number of CME hours in a sub-area of emergency medicine. The Basic Trauma Life Support is the most common of these certifications. BTLS, also known as Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support (PHTLS), is designed to provide prehospital care providers with the skills necessary to provide a thorough assessment, initial resuscitation and rapid transportation of the trauma victim.



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