Nursing is an immensely rewarding career. Nurses play a vital role in caring for patients and ensuring they heal and make a full recovery. The ability to help and care for others make nursing an attractive career for many, but have you considered exactly what type of nursing you would like to pursue? Nursing is a broad pillar of the healthcare system and many paths of specialization. One of the most rewarding but lesser-known specializations is telemetry nursing. So what is telemetry nursing?
What Is Telemetry Nursing?
Discover Nursing defines a telemetry nurse as a professional who "monitors a patient's vital signals with an electrocardiogram or other life-sign measuring device". Monitoring critically ill patients, and assessing acute changes in patient condition is the primary responsibility of these nurses.
Telemetry nurses work in a dynamic fast-paced environment and provide primary oversight over critically ill patients. Monitoring and analyzing heart rhythms, interpreting ECGs, noting arrhythmias, and intervening in emergency situations.
Telemetry nursing is not a new field, however it is ever-evolving. traditionally telemetry nurses care for cardiac patients. With advancements in technology, these nurses now care for a more diverse group of patients including those suffering from gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, coronary disease, and any other conditions that require acute care.
Where Do Telemetry Nurses Work?
Telemetry nurses work in the telemetry unit of hospitals. These are units where patients require constant electronic monitoring. These units provide critical care and are dynamic workplaces.
The telemetry unit of a hospital differed from its Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Patients in the telemetry unit are considered stable but still requiring constant monitoring in case their patient's situation changes.
The work can be stressful and challenging, however, this care is critical in patient recovery, and because of this many nurses find it very rewarding. Telemetry nurses experience varied work conditions. Some shifts will be smooth whilst others will require fast action and teamwork should a patient's condition worsen. Nurses will likely have multiple patients to care for as well as be responsible for checking in new arrivals and preparing patients for discharge.
As the telemetry ward can see high-pressure situations develop many nurses see telemetry nursing as an excellent way to prepare for work in the ICU or emergency department.
What Equipment Do Telemetry Nurses Work With?
The term telemetry comes from the words tele, meaning remote, and metron, meaning monitor. This means telemetry nurses are specially trained in the use and analysis of medical monitoring devices. These devices monitor the vital signs of a patient, such as blood pressure, oxygen saturation, respiration, and heart rhythms.
The most common machine telemetry nurses work with is the electrocardiogram, often called an EKG or ECG. This device monitors the electrical activity of the heart. As the heart beats it emits electrical variation with each depolarization and repolarization of the heart muscle. Telemetry nurses develop extensive knowledge and expertise in monitoring and interpreting these patterns and can recognize subtle but important changes in their patient's heartbeat.
Recently, technological advancements have changed and improved patient monitoring. One of the more important developments is wireless monitoring. This means the patient no longer needs to be wired to heavy equipment or confined to their bed.
Patients can move around freely whilst still being monitored by nurses. The ability for patients to move freely and undertake light exercise such as walking is beneficial in most cases.
Wireless technology also allows patients to be monitored from home. This can provide some valuable support for patients with unexplained heart palpitations or arrhythmias. Monitoring these patients can alter healthcare professionals to an impending cardiac incident or help professionals understand when or why these incidents are occurring.
Furthermore, wireless monitoring can help with a range of other health conditions. Nurses can monitor blood pressure, sleep apnoea and sleep patterns, weight, etc.
What Skills Do You Need to Be a Telemetry Nurse?
We know that telemetry nurses need to have specialized training and skills in operating monitoring devices and reviewing and interpreting patient data. But there is much more to the job than this.
Telemetry nurses must deliver critical care to their patients should their condition change. And because technology is advancing and the patients are becoming more diverse nurses need to be able to provide this critical care across many medical areas.
Telemetry nurses also need to be problem solvers and quick thinkers. Just like in the intensive care unit, the patient's condition can change rapidly. Telemetry nurses need to be good communicators who perform under pressure. Telemetry nurses need to be organized, have good attention to detail and be able to remain calm in high-pressure situations
How Do You Become a Telemetry Nurse?
Telemetry nurses, like any specialization, are registered nurses (RN). To become an RN you will need to complete a bachelor of science in nursing or complete a professional nursing associate degree. Following this, you need to pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) and meet the requirements of your state.
Positions for nurses within telemetry nursing units are often available for new graduates, which means you can begin gaining experience immediately. From here you can continue to specialize and undertake your professional development.
Ready to Become a Telemetry Nurse
Becoming a telemetry nurse is a rewarding decision. You will gain experience in delivering direct patient care. You will develop specialized expertise and knowledge in operating and interpreting medical technology and data. And with the specialization becoming more diverse it is a testing ground for many other fields, especially intensive care, and emergency department nursing.
Most importantly you will be able to care for patients if they take a sudden turn, and support them on their road to recovery. Now that you can answer the question, what is telemetry nursing, if you want to find out more and begin your journey you can learn more from the National Telemetry Association.