I am a doctor and I fail to pass AHA ACLS course

by Thanita, MD, ABC

  • Project: AHA ACLS
  • Location: Bangkok, Thailand
  • Sector: Education and Youth
  • Professional Designation: Academia


I attended AHA ACLS course at local training center called thaicpr and I as the only one who failed the test. To my knowledge, it is quite impossible to fail this exam as you can remediate couple times before you really fail the test.

The instructor who graded me had personal bias to me and terrminate my algorithm once I did the wrong step while he encourage the other participant to continue the algorithm eventhough they should have failed multiple times. As I encounter this unfairness, I became so frustate that I could not focus on my next trial.

I was an MD graduated from top tier medical school and never fail any exam before. I was offered a PGY-1 position in one of the best residency program in the state so that guarantee my competency as a doctor. I used to work as intern for a couple years ago and I quite remote from ACLS algorithm, so I studied real hard on the 300 pages ebook they gave in advance.

But yes, I failed the test due to bad luck and too much frustrated about the unfairness.

I felt embarrassed as all the participant passed this exam, most of them are nurses.


I accept  the fact that when I get emotional, I lose control of my concentration and ability to focus on the work. Basically, sometimes I cannot seperate my feeling from my duty. But it was quite difficult for me to get that level of emotions. So unjustice and unfairness are the issue that can trigger me to that point.

I think sometimes, we just met the wrong people who intentionally tease us when they are in the position that they can.

What I learnt is that I don’t let just only one test failure define me. I know what I can and cannot do. The  main reason that I fail this impossible to fail test is that.. I didn’t focus on it, I lose my mind to that trigger.

It was a mistake and I have to forgive myself. There are many ACLS course in different training center available, I will enroll to another instructor. Maybe I will find the better one that fits me and allow me to perform well without those unfairness distraction.

Most importantly, I need to learn to control myself more in the situation that I cannot control what kind of people I ran into, and that needs a lot of practice in the long run.


Select three phrases that describe this failure.

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  1. Keely F says:

    Can totally relate. I had to totally start from the beginning TWICE because the instructor said I didn’t look at the monitor before I shocked…However I know I did because J had to charge the shock. I’ve worked many codes….I had absolutely no idea what I had done wrong!! I mean I looked at the rhythm. I was confused and totally thrown off course. Others were given multiple “hints” and allowed to correct and didn’t miss a beat. Another participant said she was going to give 150mg of atropine….and allowed to continue….really???

  2. Meg says:

    Although this was years ago, thank you Thanita for admitting this, your not only brave but my hero. I am a nurse and did a practice ACLS and I was terrible at it so I had to reschedule. I blanked out due to anxiety and knew I wouldn’t pass plus felt like an idiot in front of other nurses because I kept messing up. I’m glad I am not the only one that finds this exam difficult but I deeply apologize that wasn’t fair for you.

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