What is a Telemetry Nurse?

Telemetry nurseA telemetry nurse is responsible to monitor, record and interprets data regarding patient’s vital signs. Based on this information, they provide care, administer medication and educate patients about their conditions.

What Do They Do?

Telemetry nurses are RNs with advanced training who deal only with patients who have ongoing health conditions or experience sudden health services, such as those who have heart problems or those who recently had surgery. Telemetry nurses use various types of medical technology to monitor patients’ vitals such as blood pressure, heart activity, breathing patterns and blood oxygen saturation. They record and interpret this data to assess their patient’s recovery rates. They also share this information with physicians and other health care experts to determine treatment methods. Telemetry nurses must meticulously track all medications in order to avoid any negative drug interactions. Telemetry nurses are involved at the beginning of care when they assist doctors with procedures and diagnostics. They oversee patients until the end of care when they educate them how to avoid potential relapses or problems after they are released.

Where and When Do They Work?

Telemetry nurses work in so called step-down units, which are semi-intensive care units for patients who do not need critical care, but still need continual monitoring. These units are generally fast-paced and crowded, so every telemetry nurse will have at least five patients at all time. Telemetry nurses tend to work in larger hospitals with very active surgery and critical care departments. Telemetry units usually only keep patients for one to two weeks, so telemetry nurses do not spend too much time with any one patient. Because there are still significant risks of complications, telemetry nurses work around-the-clock to provide constant care and monitoring.

What Education is Required?

Practically all telemetry nurses are RNs and have a bachelor’s degree in nursing or a related subject. Some RNs only have a two-year associate’s degree with plenty of on-the-job experience. However, these RNs usually must take specialized classes in telemetry to improve their job marketability. Almost all hospitals require nurses working in telemetry to obtain their Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) certification. In order to become an RN, candidates must meet state certification requirements, pass the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) and complete a specified number of employment hours providing bedside care. Afterwards, they are eligible to take the Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) exam through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN).

What Certification is Required?

The PCCN exam is divided into two sections: clinical judgment, which makes up 80 percent, and professional caring and ethics, which constitutes 20 percent. To expound, the clinical judgment section is broken down into areas that include pulmonary, neurology, immunology and cardiovascular systems. The professional caring and ethical practice section covers things like caring practices, systems thinking and facilitation of learning. The PCCN exam contains approximately 125 multiple-choice questions that must be completed within two and a half hours.

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A telemetry nurse monitors complex electronic equipment that provides detailed information about patient’s vital signs. Some telemetry nurses work with health care organizations that provide at-home monitoring for patients.