Two items of good news: 1, ACLS is not as bad as it looked on first glance. All those complicated colored boxes and arrows are actually communicating a fairly simple concept: keep doing CPR, and try using a defibrillator and two or three drugs every now and then. They just wanted to make it clear that you should keep doing CPR, so they kept putting it in the boxes. That’s all. And there are only a handful of meds, and the doses on them are easy; most of them go by the universal rule, 1mg/kg-unless-specified-otherwise.

2, I think I’ve discovered the magic difference between interns and fourth-year students: Interns know that they’re responsible, that they should know what to do next, and there’s not much excuse if they don’t – which is a tremendous motivation for remembering absolutely everything. Memorizing this ACLS book is the most intense studying I’ve done in months, because I’m starting to grasp that sometime not too long from now I’m going to be running a code. ER and internal medicine residents usually aren’t put in charge until their second year, except on night call, but from what I’ve seen, surgery being for tough guys (uh-huh), interns are helpfully pushed into this a few months in (not too mention being pushed into running the trauma assessments also, if not too complicated). My teachers are going to be thrilled enough to find out that I’ve had so few sick patients, I don’t even know how to place a central line; I might as well have thoroughly memorized everything that can be learned from a book.