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Extra certifications??


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I’m a new PA graduate looking to get a job in either urgent care or emergency medicine and I’m really struggling to find anything. I figured while I’m waiting for a job, it might be a good idea to get PALS and ATLS training because I’ve seen those certifications as either required or recommended on a few job requirements. However after doing some searching online, it looks like ATLS isn’t even required for EM docs?? Obviously any extra education is beneficial, but do you think those certifications will actually help boost my resume? I honestly just don’t want to waste the money if it won’t actually help me get a job. Any UC/EM PAs on here who were required to get those certifications?

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When I worked in Washington State, ATLS was required for EM positions. I'm not sure if it was mandatory at the state-level, or if it was just that particular employer (they actually required it for UC positions, too, but only because I think they lumped the requirements together). Certainly having PALS and ATLS won't hurt, and if your aim is to move into EM you should think of them as sort of baseline certifications.

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1 hour ago, HMtoPA said:

When I worked in Washington State, ATLS was required for EM positions. I'm not sure if it was mandatory at the state-level, or if it was just that particular employer (they actually required it for UC positions, too, but only because I think they lumped the requirements together). Certainly having PALS and ATLS won't hurt, and if your aim is to move into EM you should think of them as sort of baseline certifications.

Really? Weird. Must have been system specific, haven't heard of that in the 3+ organizations I'm familiar with.

Agree though. The alphabet soup perks up the resume. ATLS though...that's some $$$

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ATLS is typically not required of board certified EM docs because they have successfully argued that their training and experience in residency includes trauma management.  Some places don't require board certified EM docs to maintain BLS, ACLS, or PALS based on the same argument.

However, for a PA, being certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS is definitely worthwhile if you're trying to do EM.  Having ultrasound experience and or certs/documented classes is also a definite plus.

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9 hours ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

ATLS is typically not required of board certified EM docs because they have successfully argued that their training and experience in residency includes trauma management.  Some places don't require board certified EM docs to maintain BLS, ACLS, or PALS based on the same argument.

However, for a PA, being certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS is definitely worthwhile if you're trying to do EM.  Having ultrasound experience and or certs/documented classes is also a definite plus.

I'm not saying I don't believe you, but that makes no sense. But that reasoning, none of us should be required to maintain BLS certification, pediatricians should not have to maintain PALS certification, nor trauma surgeons ATLS. Maybe it's a regional thing, but in my experience hospital systems, employers, and insurance companies want to see all of these certifications maintained in order to practice, and it is non-negotiable.

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9 hours ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

ATLS is typically not required of board certified EM docs because they have successfully argued that their training and experience in residency includes trauma management.  Some places don't require board certified EM docs to maintain BLS, ACLS, or PALS based on the same argument.

However, for a PA, being certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS is definitely worthwhile if you're trying to do EM.  Having ultrasound experience and or certs/documented classes is also a definite plus.

I've seen the same. They claim expert status which puts them above and beyond all the soup.

Hospitalists at my shop don't have to take ACLS...moreso because they run the opposite direction of a Code Blue than any kind of mastery though...

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My new job requires ATLS, so I attended an ATLS course. Three attendants were EM physicians and I was one of three PAs. The other two PAs were EM who worked at a trauma center that required ATLS. One physician was mandated to get ATLS because his facility was going Level 1 despite 20 years in practice. I'm not sure about one of the other physicians. The third EM physician got her ATLS cert in the army. However, the hospital she was recently hired at wouldn't accept it and required her to do it again. 

I thought the ATLS course was great. Practiced needle crics, surgical crics, CTs, FAST, intubation, etc. Reviewed trauma resuscitation, burns, Ob trauma, head/spine trauma, Ortho trauma, peds trauma, geriatric trauma, ocular trauma, shock, airway management, thoracic trauma, abdominal/pelvic trauma, mass casualty, and how to triage and transfer to a higher level of care.

Personally, I think all it can do is help you: adds to your armamentarium, keeps you sharp while you're searching, and pads your resume. (Although it might be overkill if you go into UC or end up working at a standalone ED facility that is next-door to a trauma center so you don't end up receiving any traumas. Lol) But hell, you've got time so why not. If your new job won't reimburse you, make sure you at least claim it on your taxes. 

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16 hours ago, ohiovolffemtp said:

ATLS is typically not required of board certified EM docs because they have successfully argued that their training and experience in residency includes trauma management.  Some places don't require board certified EM docs to maintain BLS, ACLS, or PALS based on the same argument.

However, for a PA, being certified in BLS, ACLS, PALS, and ATLS is definitely worthwhile if you're trying to do EM.  Having ultrasound experience and or certs/documented classes is also a definite plus.

Yeah, my understanding is, IIRC, ACEP/ACOEP and other EM interest groups have argued that the extensive trauma training and routine traumas EM residents receive is well above and beyond the scope of ATLS and therefore they shouldn't be required to repeat ATLS regularly like non-EM boarded physicians.  And, I believe, ACS (who certifies trauma centers) agrees with that.

I can tell you that virtually every EM residency I've looked at as I'm getting ready to apply this fall has their EM residents go through ATLS, PALS, ACLS, and some even add NRP, APLS at the beginning of their PGY-1 year.   So at least the younger residents have had ATLS....they're just not required to keep up that cert....and honestly don't really need to keep it current if they continue to work in a shop that sees a decent amount of trauma.  

 

Edited by dfw6er
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