One vital function of nursing is being able to monitor a patient’s ongoing needs. This can be to follow changing health status, after surgery, or even checking on a patient who is home bound. With today’s healthcare climate it is almost impossible for all these checks to be done in person. Fortunately, technology has improved in recent years. It is now possible for much of this monitoring to be done remotely. This helps keep accuracy intact and the patient’s well being at the forefront. A telemetry nurse is at the leading edge of this technology.
It gives hospitals, doctors, and even the patients peace of mind by staying ahead of potential life-threatening events. Let’s take a look at the advancements of a telemetry nurse.
How Does Telemetry Nursing Work
If you have ever spent any time in a hospital or doctor’s office, you have seen all the vast equipment that is used to monitor a variety of vital statistics. These machines register blood pressure, heart rate and rhythm, and oxygen levels to name a few.
The word, telemetry, is a combination of “tele” (remote) and “metron” (measure) and simply means just that. It is the process by which statistics are measured remotely. This technology is used in other industries that need to monitor data, but it is hard to argue a more important role than the one in telemetry nursing.
This type of technology has existed for quite a while and was mainly focused on cardiac patients. This now includes other conditions as well, such as diabetes monitoring, gastrointestinal diseases, and even sleep studies. It is also used to keep an eye on critical patients after surgery.
What Does a Telemetry Nurse Do
When a patient is set up for telemetry monitoring, they are connected to electronic devices. This equipment sends information into a database about their condition. It is the responsibility of the nurse to interpret these findings and make critical decisions.
In a traditional setting, these patients are placed in a telemetry unit where the nurses have easy access to them. They can attend to whatever immediate needs arise. In addition, the data is recorded into charts so the attending physician can review.
The Telemetry Unit
The telemetry unit is the command center for all the activity and responses for this incoming information. Patient are moved to this part of the hospital so their condition needs constant surveillance.
The patient may need immediate medical attention and the unit nurse can make the call for that. Other times, they just may need to have their medication altered or a machine setting changed.
Wireless Medical Telemetry
One of the better advancements in medical telemetry is the option to go wireless. This means exactly what it says. The patient no longer is wired, or tied to, heavy equipment and confined to a hospital bed.
With the wireless option, a person can be safely monitored while having the freedom to move around. This provides needed stress relief for them as well as the opportunity for light exercise and walking which is beneficial in most cases.
Wireless medical telemetry also affords individuals to be monitored in the comfort of their own homes. This works well for those experiencing unexplained heart palpitations or arrhythmias. It can alert a medical professional to a pending cardiac event or provide insight on when and why they occur.
The wireless option also keeps track of blood pressure and sleep apnea. In addition, it can even monitor an individual’s weight to make sure they are getting adequate nutrition.
Remote Telemetry Nursing
In addition to wireless telemetry, there is now also remote telemetry nursing.
This is the available system where the nurses can monitor and make critical calls outside the walls of the hospital.
Our hospitals are becoming overrun and understaffed. This puts a strain on the entire healthcare system and causes concern for the medical community as well as the patients.
For those needing telemetry, but not on a critical status, a remote nurse can be the answer. In this case, the patient is still receiving constant monitoring, but by a different method. The information is being transmitted virtually to a telemetry nurse operating outside of the hospital.
It is also common for patients receiving remote telemetry services to not be using critical beds in a telemetry unit and therefore can free up room for more urgent care cases.
Remote telemetry also offers the flexible of remote packs. The unit is portable and goes wherever the patient goes. This means they can go from a room to a procedure, to recovery and still having their stats constantly being checked.
Requirements to Become a Telemetry Nurse
Working in telemetry nursing is a high-paced and often stressful environment. It needs someone willing to make life managing decisions at a constant pace.
Because these situations are often critical, dealing with the family of the patient involves an extra level of sensitivity and concern.
The on-site units operate 24 hours a day and the shifts are usually long and exhausting. It takes a person with a strong desire for patient care and compassion.
Technology is a huge component of this job as well, so anyone pursuing this particular field should have a love of/and sound knowledge for this aspect. They must learn to operate and maintain the machines and be able to accurately and quickly process the readings.
Most nurses who pursue telemetry medicine are RNs who then go on to complete additional certification.
Is It the Right Fit for You
Patient care is at the heart of every nurse. There exists a drive to not only help with the healing process but also assist in the emotional needs of the patient as well as the family.
For those needing to have their vitals monitored on a regular basis, it is crucial to have someone who loves attention to detail and dedicated to finding the cause of a problem and then the correct solution.
If this type of job sounds like the right fit for you, then a future as a telemetry nurse may be just what your career path needs.
For more information on the pursuit of telemetry medicine, please reach out.