What is a Telemetry Travel Nurse
When an older patient comes in complaining of prolonged and severe chest pain, yet shows no other signs of cardiac arrest, they could be at risk of a serious heart problem. With no immediate diagnosis to offer, the patient may be transferred from the ER to a telemetry unit. Here, the patient will receive 24-hour cardiac monitoring with a telemetry nurse surveilling the patient for any signs of a deteriorating condition or form of heart failure.
Travel Telemetry Nurse Position Responsibilities
Telemetry is a mixture of registered nurse duties and technical skills to operate machinery that monitors patient health—the most common being the echocardiogram (EKG). This means that telemetry nurses need the same bedside manner skills as registered nurses as well as the technical know-how to run stress tests and read EKG strips in order to properly care for patients.
This wide breadth of knowledge is often a determining factor in telemetry nurses becoming certified. Certifications for telemetry nurses (discussed further below) allow for continual education and proficiency in the telemetry field.
Using Electronic Equipment to Monitor Patients
Reading an EKG is one of the primary functions that distinguishes telemetry nurses from RNs. In fact, in many hospitals where nurses are required to rotate between different critical care units, telemetry is one where nurses feel the least comfortable. This is because learning to read a strip of paper full of squiggly lines that are supposed to represent heart function takes a lot of training.
Other equipment that is used in the telemetry unit includes heart monitors and Holter monitors. Each of these plays an important role in determining the overall health of the patient.
Looking for Arrhythmias, Cardiac Baseline Changes, and Abnormalities
On this strip of paper full of squiggly lines (the EKG strip), nurses should be able to determine any arrhythmias, cardiac baseline changes, and abnormalities. Nurses interpret the strip by noting the rate, rhythm, axis, hypertrophy, and ST-segment.
Responding to any Irregularities
Because of the amount of equipment strapped to your cardiac patients, there are many factors determining the health of the patient. Reacting to these irregularities in an urgent manner is needed to protect the patient, and often waiting for a physician to respond takes too long.
Telemetry nurses also have to be ready if the patient’s vital signs trigger any alarms. False alarms are standard in telemetry, and each one has to be treated equally.
Performing Stress Tests
Stress tests, or “exercise” tests, are used to elevate the patient’s heart rhythm, breathing, and blood pressure. By doing so, you’re actively making the heart work harder and pump more blood. Any irregularities or arrhythmias are prone to manifest while the heart is stressed. These are recorded by electrodes strapped to the patient’s chest.
Stress tests are used to diagnose heart rhythm problems, coronary artery disease, and other related heart disorders.
Telemetry Nurse Certifications
One problem is, there’s no one standard certification process. Telemetry nurses can become certified through the National Telemetry Association, American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, or they can receive specific credentials through the Cardiovascular Credentialing International. The world of telemetry nurse certifications can seem confusing, but the easiest way to determine which one you need is to ask your employer.
A certified nurse enjoys a bump in pay and an increase in job responsibilities. To take advantage of this, sit down with your hospital’s representative and develop the best course of action.
National Telemetry Association
The NTA has been assessing telemetry care nurses since 2011. Compared to other nursing programs, this one is fairly new. However, NTA is recognized internationally in facilities with modern medical technology and is dedicated to maintaining high standards of nursing professionalism.
To become certified through the NTA, nurses can take an online exam from their homes. The certification exam is 303 questions long, and nurses will have 3 hours to complete it. Test questions will range from anatomy to physiology to telemetry.
Association of Critical-Care Nurses
The AACN was founded back in 1969. In 1976, it became one of the earliest nursing associations that allowed certifications in a specialty—critical care. Since then, it has grown to encompass 15 unique specialty certifications in adult care, pediatrics, geriatrics, and neonatal. For telemetry nurses, there is the CMC certification.
Nurses who provide acute care for cardiac patients are able to gain this certification. This includes nurses who work in medical ICUs, heart failure clinics, telemetry, and more. To be eligible for the CMC exam, nurses must have an unencumbered RN license and have a certain number of hours in acute care.
Cardiovascular Credentialing International
CCI is a credentialing institute for cardiovascular technologies. They touch on many different fields, including sonography, cardiographic technologies and rhythm analysis, cardiac electrophysiology, and more.
Telemetry Travel Nurses in Great Demand
From California to Connecticut, telemetry travel nurses have hundreds of jobs to choose from, with opportunities growing quickly. Telemetry travel nurses care for patients who need closer monitoring than possible on a medical-surgical unit but who are not quite critical enough for intensive care. However, these patients remain at a high risk of instability. Telemetry units are also referred to as step-down or progressive care floors. No matter what the hospital calls the units, telemetry nurses are busy, and to succeed, they must enjoy a fast-paced environment. In addition to hospitals, progressive care nurses care for patients in long-term acute care hospitals.
Nurses on these units often care for patients with cardiovascular conditions, but they also may care for people a wide range of conditions and comorbidities, which increases challenges and makes the work interesting. Telemetry travel nurses are expected to walk on the unit and start working. Therefore, they must be confident of their skills and flexible enough to collaborate with different members of the healthcare team.