Telemetry Nurse Practitioner at a Glance
Because cardiac patients are typically high risk individuals, Telemetry Nurses need to be able to assess and respond to a patient’s vitals as quickly and efficiently as possible. This makes for a fast-paced work environment suitable for natural problem solvers.
Telemetry Nurses are in demand due to the specialized knowledge required for this niche area of nursing.
What’s the Demand for Telemetry Nurses?
Due to the specialized knowledge and technical skills required to monitor cardiac patients, Telemetry Nurses are solidly in demand. Additionally, with heart disease being the leading cause of death in America, the more proficient cardiac specialists we have in our healthcare system, the better.
How Do You Become a Telemetry Nurse?
Telemetry is technically a sub-specialty for certified advanced practice nurses, and since there’s no graduate program currently in place for it, the majority of telemetry skills are learned on the job. However, as with any nursing specialty, before entering the field as a registered nurse and further specializing your practice, you must first earn a minimum of Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN), though a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) is preferred by most employers.
After passing the NCLEX-RN, nurses who want to specialize in Telemetry can start building their skills on the job and via additional training courses and certifications through the American Association of Critical Care Nurses. These certifications can include the Adult, Neonatal and Pediatric Acute/Critical Care Nursing certification, the Tele-ICU Adult Acute/Critical Care Nursing Certification (CCRN-E), and the Adult Progressive Care Nursing Certification. While each of these certifications have their own specific requirements, all require a minimum of 1,750 hours in bedside Progressive Care.
You’ll work in an evolving area of Critical Care called Progressive Care, using technologies and therapies, such as electrocardiograms (ECGs), that were once limited to Critical Care units.
As an expert in a particularly niche specialty, you’ll stay up to date on the latest technologies, medications, and overall telemetry practices and treatment plans for all kinds of cardiac patients.
In a patient-facing role, you’ll teach patients about their conditions, communicate any changes and what they mean, and provide insight on any lifestyle adjustments they make to prioritize their heart health.
In addition to watching EKGs and other machines to ensure that a patient remains in a stable condition, you’ll keep an eye on other core vitals that might act as indicators of side effects or any signs that they might be at risk for other complications.
Telemetry Nurses also administer medication, perform diagnostic tests, assist with surgical procedures, and perform basic life support procedures when necessary. This is where varied experience as an RN can serve both you and your patients in your ability to provide comprehensive, quality care on top of your specialized Telemetry skillset.
Telemetry Nursing is constantly evolving as new technology is introduced, making telemetry units a hub for innovation and medical advancement. Currently, a lot of these innovations aim to create accessible technologies that allow a care team to provide patients with remote telemetry monitoring.
- Clinics/Outpatient Care CentersOutside of a hospital setting, Telemetry Nurses still have standard duties and responsibilities, such as performing diagnostic procedures, running EKGs, and taking any other necessary tests to understand a patient’s condition. The main difference here is that patients treated in an outpatient environment tend to be at a lower risk, and require less dedicated medical monitoring.
- HospitalsIn hospitals, Telemetry Nurses typically function either in ICUs or dedicated Telemetry units. These patients require constant care to prevent further complications throughout the healing process. Because of this, Telemetry Nurses need to be highly aware of each patient's needs, and should be prepared to quickly address any changes in their patient’s condition.
The benefits of being a Telemetry Nurse
For Victoria A., BSN, RN-BC, Nursing was a second career. After years in entry-level corporate jobs, Victoria got her start in nursing as a Telemetry Nurse, eventually pursuing a more advanced path in critical care. During her time as a Medical/Surgical Telemetry Nurse, Victoria gained a strong base knowledge on critical illnesses and advanced technologies, allowing her to acquire valuable skills surrounding medication titration, patient assessment, and proactive care practices.
Get an Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) or Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN).
Depending on which level of education you pursue, your academic journey to becoming a Telemetry Nurse can take two to four years. It’s important to note that, while not a requirement right now, there seems to be a trend of more employers looking for hires with a BSN, so it’s always beneficial to pursue a higher degree if you can.
Pass the NCLEX-RN.
To become an Telemetry Nurse, you must have at least one year of experience as a Registered Nurse. That’s before you apply for an MPH program, if that’s the path you choose to take.
Work as a Registered Nurse, gaining at least 1,750 hours in a Progressive Care.
Once you’re a licensed Registered Nurse, you can immediately begin your path to Telemetry nursing. This means prioritizing hours in progressive care and building the knowledge and skills you need to function in a Telemetry unit.
Pass your Progressive Care Nurse Certification through the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses.
In addition to the Progressive Care Nurse Certification, the AACN also offers further certifications that can give you a competitive edge when searching for jobs or looking to progress your career.