If you enjoy working with technology in an often fast-paced and exciting environment, you may want to consider a career as a telemetry nurse. Telemetry nurses utilize high-tech equipment to monitor heart patients in hospital cardiac wards, clinics, and ambulatory care centers. They use devices like electrocardiogram (ECG) machines to check the patient’s vital signs, including heart rate, blood/oxygen level, breathing rate, blood pressure, and more. They use this information, along with observations of the patient’s symptoms, to assess the patient’s condition and then record this information.
In addition to monitoring heart patients, telemetry nurses also work with patients who have renal, pulmonary, circulatory, or gastrointestinal failure, or serious conditions like diabetes. They usually work independently, under the general oversight of a nurse manager or director, as case managers for their patients. They help to develop and implement care plans for patients. They often counsel patients about post-discharge care and strategies to promote health. They may administer treatment or medication, give exams, help patients rehabilitate, and even participate in surgical procedures.
Telemetry nurses play an important role in the health of patients undergoing serious complications such as heart attacks, congestive heart failure, or other heart issues. They have an advanced knowledge of heart medications and can interpret monitor readings in order to accurately assess a patient’s condition at any time. As such, a telemetry nurse must be comfortable working with technology and must also have a calm disposition. Telemetry nurses are responsible for clearly communicating both positive and negative assessments of patient conditions to the patient’s medical team.
Telemetry nursing requirements vary by state. In most states, you must be licensed as a registered nurse. Many hospitals also require additional certification for this RN job. You may need an advanced cardiac life support certificate (ACLS), which certifies your knowledge of telemetry and critical care of cardiac patients. Salary for a telemetry nurse can vary greatly, but it averages $57,000 annually.