Are you interested in becoming a telemetry nurse? Do you wonder exactly what the job entails? Are you curious about the skills telemetry nurses need to perform their jobs effectively and what education is required in order to qualify for the position?
What is a telemetry nurse?
Telemetry nurses care for patients who are not sick enough to be in an intensive care unit, but who still need constant monitoring with often complex medical equipment. They perform basic nursing duties like answering patient questions, explaining care, and administering medication. They also use sophisticated technology to keep an eye on their vulnerable patients’ vital signs, including their breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure. Cardiac patients make up the bulk of the population in telemetry units. People with neurological issues and sleep disorders may also require the care of a telemetry nurse.
What Skills Does a Telemetry Nurse Need?
Nursezone’s article “Specialty Spotlight: All About Progressive Care” notes that telemetry nursing is ideal for nurses intrigued by technology because it demands both people skills and technological expertise. Interacting effectively with sick patients requires strong interpersonal skills. Ensuring that the specialized equipment these patients need is set up properly and then accurately analyzing the data that it provides takes technological proficiency. While the patient to nurse ratio is lower in telemetry units than many other areas, telemetry nurses have to be able to multitask so that all of their patients receive appropriate care.
Telemetry nurses must be ready to recognize any symptoms or signs of cardiac or respiratory emergencies, and be prepared to begin interventions to stabilize a distressed patient if necessary. They must understand drug dosage and administration, cardiac rhythm monitoring, interpretation and treatment, patient monitoring protocols for cardiac patients after common cardiac procedures, and basic and advanced life support. Telemetry nurses are also expected to identify if their patient or their patient’s family will need extra support when the patient is able to leave the hospital and go home.
What Type of Education is Required to Become a Telemetry Nurse?
The first step in becoming a telemetry nurse is to become a Registered Nurse (RN). While you can become an RN by earning a Diploma in Nursing, an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and then passing the licensing exam, most employers give preferences to nurses with BSNs for positions in telemetry. Additional certification as a Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) is also typically required. Experienced nurses often recommend that people interested in becoming telemetry nurses spend time shadowing a nurse working in a telemetry unit. If you’re still in school, spending part of your clinical practice in a telemetry unit can help you understand the job’s pressures and rewards.
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What is the Job Outlook for Telemetry Nurses?
As the country’s population ages, the need for advanced medical care continues to grow. With the nation’s shortage of intensive care beds requiring hospitals to open more progressive care and telemetry units, telemetry nurses are in very high demand.
Working in a telemetry unit is a challenging job that requires strong people skills and a thorough grasp of technology. If you’re searching for a career that affords the opportunity to interact with patients and work with technology, consider becoming a telemetry nurse.