Overview of the Telemetry Nurse Job
A telemetry nurse is responsible for using specialized equipment with the goal of monitoring, recording and interpreting data concerning a patient’s vital signs. Additionally, telemetry nursing involves providing basic patient care, educating patients about their condition, and administering medications. Clients may include those with special needs, ongoing health conditions, and those just out of emergency care or surgery.
Advanced medical knowledge and strong interpersonal skills are essential for telemetry nurses as they typically deal with several patients throughout each shift. Telemetry nurses can work in a variety of environments including hospitals, clinics, research facilities, hospice facilities, childcare environments and many others. Advancements can be made within the field by pursuing specialty training and certifications, such as cardiac telemetry, monitoring sleep disorders or neurological issues.
Work Environment and Job Duties
A telemetry nurse works primarily with at-risk patients who require constant or periodic monitoring of their heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, and other vital signs. Patients who require telemetry services have often suffered from a heart attack, stroke or other major issues, and a telemetry nurse often helps doctors determine proper treatment methods based on monitoring results.
Additionally, these specialists are qualified to assist doctors with procedures, provide general patient care, and handle and emergencies that arise. It often falls to these nurses to provide patient education about ways to avoid future health problems or relapses in their condition. Staff members will typically work in 12-hour rotational shifts, and hospitals staff telemetry nurses 24/7, including holidays and weekends, so long hours and on-call shifts are to be expected.
To become a telemetry nurse, one should have a nursing degree and the ability to work quickly, yet compassionately with a variety of patients. Many regions require a bachelor’s degree in nursing and most employers prefer staff to have one, but some only require an associate of Science in Nursing.
Post obtaining a degree, one must pass the NCLEX-RN, or National Council Licensure Examination. Passage of the Progressive Care Nurse certification examination is also required to become a PCCN, which is a formal title for a telemetry nurse.
Earning additional certifications in a specialty qualifies nurses in telemetry the opportunity to further their career and enhance salary. These include:
Salary and Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook projects an excellent outlook for all RN’s including telemetry nursing positions with the job market expected to increase much more rapidly than other careers through 2018. Nurses can enhance their desirability and salary requirements by earning a Master’s degree or attaining telemetry clinical nurse manger certifications.
The average earnings for this position nationwide is between $48,440 and $55,430 as of 2010, but those in management positions report earning as much as $110,000 annually. Those working within state and government institutions, particularly those in heavily populated urban environments, often enjoy higher pay. Salary is often negotiable for those with several years of experience, higher education, and certifications in one of more specialties. Health benefits are typically offered to full time employees, but such benefits will depend on the chosen workplace of a telemetry nurse.