Are you interested in cardiology and caring for seriously ill patients? If so, a telemetry nursing career may be for you. It is a fast-paced profession, combining patient care with analytic skills and technological proficiency.
What Is Telemetry Nursing?
Certified telemetry nurses provide care for high-risk patients, many of whom are in critical condition and need constant monitoring and care. Many will be recovering from cardiac arrest or recent cardiac surgery, and require around-the-clock attention to their heart’s activity. Others will have complications with diabetes and need constant monitoring of vitals and blood sugar levels. Telemetry nursing is any nursing position where the patients will need complete and specialized care and constant supervision.
Telemetry nurses use specialized equipment and technology to monitor and treat patients. For example, they are trained to record and measure the rate and regularity of heartbeats using an electrocardiography (EKG or ECG) device. A telemetry nurse can specialize in cardiac telemetry, as well.
What Does a Telemetry Nurse Do?
The telemetry nurse specialty requires traditional nursing skills, such as providing patient care, administering medication, and educating patients about their condition. A telemetry nurse’s job is very patient-focused. In addition, telemetry nurses must be able to use advanced equipment to track a patient’s vital signs and detect symptoms of distress. They usually provide care to patients with gastrointestinal diseases, heart failure or other heart issues, diabetes, and other acute diagnoses. They can work in hospitals as well as other clinical facilities. They are fairly independent in their job duties and have structured day-to-day assignments and tasks.
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- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Although a BSN is not strictly a requirement, it looks like the profession is heading that way. Most employers prefer this qualification, and the Institute of Medicine is calling for 80% of registered nurses to have a baccalaureate degree by 2020.
For many registered nurses—those with a nursing diploma or an associate’s degree—enrollment in a RN-to-BSN program is the answer. It recognizes prior education and work experience, making it possible to earn a BSN within 18 months. It can also be done online, so it’s a realistic option for nurses who are already working in the field and want to further advance their careers.
- Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) credential. This involves at least 1,750 hours of relevant work experience, and an exam covering topics related to cardiology and neurological conditions.
The certification exam is offered year-round, across the United States.
The PCCN Test Plan can help you familiarize yourself with the material.
Salary and Job Outlook
Salary will vary according to where in the United States you work and your experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary in May 2010 was $64,690, with the top 10% earning more than $95,130. Nursing is one of the fastest growing jobs in America. Demand will remain high, with more than 581,500 new RN jobs projected within the next 5 years.