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Can an institution mandate it only accepts ACLS or PALS certifications?

Wednesday January 15, 2014
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Dear Donna,

My institution has mandated that they only accept Advanced Cardiac Life Support or Pediatric Advanced Life Support certifications. Many of us have American Hospital Association-approved certifications we have used for years. I am wondering if this mandate can be enforced. There is no written policy in our handbook.

PALS Certified

Dear Donna replies:

Dear PALS Certified,

I wish I had more details about this mandate. For example, why the change in policy? Is it more of a "recertification" just to ensure that each provider has knowledge/skills that can be validated by the institution? Are they looking to be the providers of AHA certifications as a way to obtain additional revenue? Would you be required to pay something for it, and would it be transferable to another institution if you left your employment there?

Without more details, it is challenging for me to comment. I have not heard of this before so I can only suggest that you ask nurses who work for other facilities in your geographic area to see if any other facility is doing this. You or a group of RNs can consult a nurse attorney about the legitimacy of this practice and see if it is something you can challenge.

Best wishes,


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.