In every hospital unit, you’re bound to find specialized nurses that devote their training, skills, and time to provide the utmost level of medical care. Monitoring patients remotely after surgeries and other cardiac treatments are at the heart of telemetry nurses’ responsibilities – no pun intended. Whether you’re just starting your journey as a nurse or you’re looking to find a specialization, this is everything you need to know about telemetry nurses.
What is a Telemetry Nurse?
A telemetry nurse works with patients struggling with heart disease, heart failure, and other cardiac conditions. To understand a telemetry nurse, you have to understand the term telemetry, which comes from the words tele meaning “remote” and metron meaning “measure.”
Thus, a telemetry nurse monitors patients using remote electronic signals and specialized equipment. They monitor patients’ progress, provide medical care, and provide specific cardiac interventions in an emergency.
National average salary: $107,536 per year
Job outlook: 7% increase
Where Do Telemetry Nurses Work?
As their name states, telemetry nurses work in the telemetry unit of a hospital. These units provide care for patients leaving the intensive care unit (UCI) that still require consistent monitoring. In the telemetry unit, patients are more stable but even need close monitoring should their situation change.
Sometimes, telemetry nurses also find work in outpatient surgery centers and long-term care facilities. Other medicine areas may also employ a telemetry unit, so nurses may find themselves working with sleep clinics or neurological units.
What Kind of Patients Are On A Telemetry Unit?
The telemetry unit receives a wide range of patients. Most patients need telemetry monitoring, particularly those with a history of high blood pressure, stroke, or a heart attack. Patients in this unit have a high turnout rate because most patients are already stepping down from a more intense level of care.
What Does a Telemetry Nurse Do?
In short, telemetry nurses provide care for patients with cardiovascular issues and related consequences. They perform frequent patient assessments to watch for any changes. This includes measuring blood pressure, levels of consciousness, and breathing patterns.
Telemetry nurses also operate heart monitoring equipment, perform diagnostic tests, and follow protocols to treat chest pain. Most of the time, nurses also assist with procedures like cardioversions and other procedures performed in the telemetry unit. However, their biggest responsibility is recognizing and responding to cardiac emergencies quickly.
The telemetry nurse has a mixture of responsibilities that include registered nurse duties and technical skills to monitor patients’ health.
Most responsibilities include:
- Caring for cardiac patients
- Using electronic equipment like an echocardiogram (EKG) and breathing machines to monitor patients
- Looking for cardiac baseline changes, arrhythmias, and abnormalities
- Responding to irregularities
- Performing stress tests
- Administering IVs and medications
- Monitoring telemetry units of hospitals
- Assisting cardiologists throughout cardiac procedures
- Using diagnostic tests to evaluate patients’ cardiac health
How Do You Become a Telemetry Nurse?
As a baseline, telemetry nurses are registered nurses (RNs). To become an RN, you need to earn either a Professional Nursing Associate’s Degree or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree. You must then pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and meet your state’s requirements for RN licensure.
After obtaining your RN licensure, you can start transitioning into telemetry. Consider speaking with a supervisor about your interest in telemetry and ask how you can train in this specialty. Unlike other specialties, there’s no central organization that focuses on telemetry certification. The two most common credentialing programs include the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses (AMSN) and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).
- The Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification obtained through the American Heart Association
- The Processive Care Certified (PCCN) certification given by the Association of Critical-Care Nurses
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Telemetry Nurse?
Telemetry nursing is a highly technical environment that requires a more specialized skill set. This career path involves acute care for patients experiencing cardiac problems. The dual nature of telemetry nursing that combines technical and practical skills separates them from other specializations.
Most common skills for telemetry nurses include:
- Understanding of cardiac rhythm monitoring techniques, interpretation, and treatment
- Knowledge of basic and advanced life support procedures
- Knowledge of drug dosage and continuous monitoring
- Knowledge of standard interventions to stabilize patients should an emergency arise
- Understanding of monitoring machinery
Starting Your Telemetry Nursing Career
If the above responsibilities sound like the type of work that interests you, there’s a straightforward path towards becoming a telemetry nurse. With a specialty like this, you could become a coveted travel nurse. At Stability Healthcare, we place nurses in hospitals across the United States in specialties like telemetry. Browse open jobs today!