What is a Telemetry Nurse?

Telemetry NurseIf you’re looking for a fast-paced RN nursing specialty for working with high-risk patients, then you may want to consider becoming a telemetry nurse. Telemetry nurses specialize in working with critical patients recently released from intensive care who require constant monitoring with special medical technology. Telemetry nurses focus on carefully reviewing equipment to quickly determine symptoms of complications and potentially save lives. Telemetry nurses mostly treat patients with diabetes, heart disease, gastrointestinal illnesses, cancer, neurological disorders, and other non-emergency conditions. As one of the seven most in-demand specialties, telemetry nursing is growing due to the large aging baby boomer population, according to Healthcare Traveler. The following is a brief job profile to show what becoming a telemetry nurse will entail.

What Telemetry Nurses Do

Telemetry nurses have the primary responsibility of giving round-the-clock attention and monitoring vital signs of patients in critical condition within a telemetry unit. Telemetry nurses utilize specialized equipment to track their patients’ heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and temperature. Constantly monitoring telemetry screens is required, but telemetry nurses also carry out traditional bedside nursing duties. Telemetry nurses often record medical histories, administer medicines, make observations, consult with doctors, perform diagnostics, and educate patients on at-home care. Some telemetry nurses will devote their career to treating cardiovascular patients and using electrocardiogram tests. Working with multiple patients is usual, so telemetry nurses must have good multi-tasking, interpersonal, and technical skills.

Where Telemetry Nurses Practice

Telemetry nurses practice progressive care in several different settings welcoming high-risk patients with chronic or acute medical concerns. The majority of telemetry nurses work in telemetry units within public and private hospitals. Others may work in intermediate care units, direct observation units, transitional care units, or step-down units. Some may work with post-operative patients in recovery rooms after major surgeries. Outside the hospital, telemetry nurses may find employment in outpatient care centers, clinics, sleep centers, and surgical facilities. To provide constant 24/7 monitoring, telemetry nurses often work long shifts, including nights, weekends, and holidays, with most time spent on their feet checking on patients.

How to Become a Telemetry Nurse

Before you can jump into telemetry nursing, you’ll obviously need to become an RN by following one of three acceptable routes. Depending on your state, you can receive licensing with a one-year hospital-based diploma, two-year associate’s degree in nursing (ADN), or a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most aspiring telemetry nurses choose the latter for a more well-rounded education and in-depth clinical practicum. Employers typically prefer BSN candidates too. After passing the NCLEX-RN exam, you can begin in entry-level staff nursing and segue into progressive care positions. Once you have at least 1,750 hours of experience in a telemetry unit, you’ll qualify for becoming a Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. This involves passing a 125-question exam and paying an initial certification fee.

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Overall, telemetry nurses have a challenging, yet rewarding job in monitoring complex medical equipment to check the status of at-risk patients. Telemetry nurses instantly recognize an warning signs of danger and report changes to doctors overseeing the patient’s care. They also will educate patients on the best ways to avoid relapse or potential problems after recovering. If you make the decision to become a telemetry nurse, you’ll join a growing nursing specialty and use your technological expertise to keep patients safe from emergencies.