Nursing majors who’ve obtained an RN diploma or associate degree might wonder if it’s necessary to earn a BSN to work as a telemetry nurse. While the short answer is no, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing is increasingly becoming the preferred education credential for today’s highly trained health workforce. Telemetry nursing, an RN specialty where nurses are tasked with monitoring the vital signs of patients receiving critical care, isn’t an exception. Health care facilities want telemetry nurses who have the in-depth clinical knowledge to use life-saving machines to accurately watch patients’ blood pressure, heart rate, respiration levels, and body temperatures for signs of acute trouble. Although telemetry patients are often more stable than ICU patients, this RN field demands serious, skilled nurses. Here’s an overview of how well bachelor’s degrees are viewed in telemetry nursing.

Reasons to Consider a BSN Degree

Taking the leap into a four-year higher education for a BSN could provide exceptional advantages to telemetry nurses. Telemetry nurses with a BSN can readily compete for openings in the nursing profession, projected to reach 16 percent growth by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Bachelor’s programs are extremely convenient with RN-BSN degrees available online and during evenings. Taking BSN courses pushes your clinical judgment forward and unlocks graduate study options for becoming a telemetry nurse practitioner. The AACN has collected research evidence showing that bachelor’s education increases the likelihood of good patient outcomes. PayScale also shows that BSN nurses earn $8,337 more than ADN nurses on average.

Telemetry Nursing Jobs Preferring a BSN

Telemetry nurses can literally find jobs in any health care facility using the “step-down” approach to overcome a lack of ICU space while carefully monitoring critical patients. Most telemetry units are found in state, university, local, and private hospitals. Hospitals that are seeking the “magnet” designation with advanced RNs will prefer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Earning a BSN will also suit you well in outpatient facilities, clinics, surgical centers, and cardiac units. According to a study on Burning Glass, 37 percent of the surveyed 187,000 RN listings required a bachelor’s degree. Some associations like the Institute of Medicine want 80 percent of RNs to have BSNs by 2020.

Steps to Obtain Your BSN for Telemetry

Deciding to finish a BSN to work as a telemetry nurse is a big step best taken at an ACEN or CCNE accredited nursing school. Your Bachelor of Science in Nursing will include four years of post-secondary education, or two years beyond an ADN. If you’ve already passed the NCLEX-RN exam, online RN-BSN programs are favorable to keep your bedside career active while taking advanced nursing courses. During your required BSN practicum, request placements in hospitals with telemetry units and learn about machines like EKGs firsthand. Besides the BSN, professional certification can also further your telemetry career. The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers the Progressive Care Nursing (PCCN) credential for 1,750 hours of experience and a $185 fee.

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Overall, telemetry nurses perform a crucial role in monitoring high-risk patients by using data to quickly detect dangerous symptoms and alert physicians. The National Telemetry Association (NTA) has accrued over 10,000 members since 2011 who operate high-tech machines and provide important information on patients’ well-being. Although you won’t necessarily need a BSN to work as a telemetry nurse, the degree is recommended due to the RN specialty’s great responsibility.