About the Job

Telemetry Nursing: What Is It?

Telemetry Nursing: What Is It?

One job that stands out against the rest can be described as one in which a lifetime of service for others is carried out through the use of care, patience, and sufficient schooling.  The occupation that best fits this definition is nursing.  For most, it would be rather difficult to have a negative association with nursing as a career as it is both demanding and rewarding. With this, nursing requires a certain personality and work ethic, as nurses are often asked to balance a variety of tasks at the same time.  Because of the undeniable care that nurse provide their patients with, long-lasting impressions are made as a result.

With a variety of statistics to back it, nursing is in fact a desirable career.  For those searching for a position as a nurse however, it may quickly become apparent that there is a lot more than meets the eye.  So, nursing has a lot of specialties within it, such as medical surgery nurses, post-operation nurses, intensive care unit nurses, wound care nurses, and so on.  However, one type of nursing that is not heard of very often is telemetry nursing. 

This type of nursing is not relatively new in the healthcare world, but it has seen an increase in demand over the years.  A more in-depth look into the profession shows that there are a variety of key traits that make telemetry nursing an important piece in the workings of any given healthcare facility. But first, what does a telemetry nurse even do?

The word telemetry is used to describe a method of communication, wherein different technologies are utilized to obtain important data.  The process is conducted through the use of an automated method, allowing certain tasks within hospitals to operate more smoothly.  A telemetry nurse is tasked with using this equipment to obtain a patient’s vitals, monitor their current state, as well as other relevant health-related readings. 

The occupation proves to be important, as certain patients demand more attention than others.  This can be the result of more severe health conditions, as well as the certain medications the patient is taking at the time (certain medications can have adverse effects if taken at the same time, increasing the need for more tentative observation).

As is the case for any type of nursing (and any other job for that matter), the demands for a telemetry nurse can change depending on the tasks.  For a normal day at work, telemetry nurses can expect to utilize equipment such as an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), as well as other pieces of equipment commonly seen in healthcare facilities.  The equipment being used each day is often responsible for monitoring a patient’s respective blood pressure, breathing patterns, heart activity, and blood oxygen saturation.  Telemetry nurses often care for patients with heart-related ailments, where constant monitoring is key in maintaining the patient’s well being.

On this note, Timothy Owen, a current registered nurse on the medical surgical floor of Kaiser Permanente Hospital in San Diego, points out that the most common patients seen by telemetry nurses include, “patients who are at risk of heart anomalies or arrhythmias… the patients wear a monitor that is attached to their heart, and it measures the electrical impulses that go through the heart.” 

In addition to this, telemetry nurses must record and make sense of the readings obtained from the equipment monitors.  The nurse's ability to comprehend this data enables them to make predictions as to when their patients will be able to recover, and it is also useful in selecting the right treatment options.  As alluded to the above, telemetry nurses must also be diligent with paying close attention to the different medications their patients are taking. This task requires a firm of understanding of what certain medications entail. 

Lastly, telemetry nurses are vital in how patients receive information about their health.  While a patient is recovering, telemetry nurses are able to inform their patients about how to best maintain their health and how to prevent any other avoidable health conditions all together.

In terms of what a telemetry nurse's work environment is, much of their experiences do not differ from that of any other specialized nurse.  It is common to see nurses assigned a certain amount of patients, with a maximum amount of patients put into place to ensure that the hospital staff is not overworked and the demands of the day are properly distributed.  Owen notes that much of the work day to day, “depends on the load… my unit will normally assign four nurses for every 16 patients.” 

In most cases, telemetry nurses are registered nurses, meaning they have either obtained their Associate’s Degree in Nursing or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, in addition to passing what is known as the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX).  For any nurse with the desire to specialize in a certain discipline, additional certifications and training is often required. 

An important thing to note is that a large sum of skills acquired for a specialist position in nursing are commonly obtained whilst on the job, as opposed to receiving said skills from a textbook.  This goes to show that nurses must be flexible and prepared to constantly learn new things on a daily basis.

The future for nurses

Nursing, as previously mentioned, demands a special type of personality.  The ability to care for others while remaining focused and working efficiently is indeed a talent in itself.  The occupation is one of the most trusted after all (according to a 2017 Gallup poll).  For those looking to take the big step and enter into the world of nursing, a multitude of options are available.  Whether it be the fast-paced environment of an intensive care unit, or the more subdued workings of a postoperative nurse.  There are options for a variety of individuals looking to become a registered nurse. 

Telemetry nursing itself proves to be well-sought after.  A piece written by Jacksonville University comments that, “According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the job outlook for RNs, including telemetry nurses, remains excellent. Employment of nurses is predicted to grow by 16% from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for other occupations.” 

With this in mind, the occupation may very well be a no brainer for those who are determined, focused, and are able to think on their toes.  Without these types of people, the world would be a very different place.