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Telemetry Nurse Practitioner at a Glance

Telemetry Nursing, also referred to as Progressive Care Nursing, focuses solely on the monitoring of cardiac patients. These nurses are highly trained in using the latest electrocardiogram (EKG/ECG) and telemedicine technology, and are experts at identifying potentially dangerous heart rhythms.
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.

HIGH DEMAND

Telemetry Nurses are in demand due to the specialized knowledge required for this niche area of nursing.

What is a Telemetry Nurse?
A Telemetry or Progressive Care Nurse monitors patients with heart disease and other serious medical conditions using an electrocardiogram or other vital sign measuring devices. Often, Telemetry Nurses care for patients who have recently stabilized enough to move out of an ICU or other Critical Care Unit but still require close supervision. Additionally, Telemetry Nurses communicate with patient care teams about any changes in a patient’s cardiac rhythms that might impact their condition, and necessary treatment moving forward.

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.

Overview
Working with high risk patients, Telemetry Nurses are relied upon to be detail oriented in their care, to ensure that no red flags are missed that could lead to rapid patient deterioration. Because of this, Telemetry Nurses should be able to function calmly in high stress situations, communicate effectively with fellow doctors, and know each patient’s regular vitals and risk factors.


Average annual salary
$53k–$101k
As of 2020, the average annual salary for a Telemetry Nurse tends to fall between $53k-$101k. As with any profession, factors such as years of experience, the kind of employer you work for, and the state and city you work in can have a significant impact on how you are compensated. This is also where additional certifications through the AACN can serve your financial advancement.

Source: PayScale, Aug 2018

Attributes
Patient-facing
Telemetry nursing requires the constant monitoring of patients, which can include anything from ensuring medications are being administered properly, to assisting with procedures, to performing standard testing.
Structured
It’s crucial to follow a diagnostic procedure and care routine, to make sure no patient health risks or changes go undetected. As a core member of a patient’s care team, you’re responsible for being able to identify any abnormalities specific to their case.
Varied
Cardiac issues can manifest in many ways, such as heart attacks, congestive heart failure, renal failure, COPD, and advanced cancer. It’s the job of a Telemetry Nurse to know how these issues can impact the way a patient’s heart functions, the effects on other core vitals, and what treatment will address their health concerns.
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.
What Does a Telemetry Nurse Do?
Overview
Overview

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.

Education
Education

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.

Monitoring
Monitoring

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.

Treatment
Treatment

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.

Innovate
Innovate

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.

Where Can a Telemetry Nurse Work?
  • Clinics/Outpatient Care Centers
    Outside 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.
  • Hospitals
    In 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
  • Nursing_video_stills_Victoria_Akre.jpg
  • 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.

Telemetry Nurse Path

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.

You’re ready to work as a Telemetry Nurse.

Join an Organization
Become a member of a Telemetry Nurse organization to find career opportunities, learn from your colleagues, and support the profession.

National Telemetry Association

American Association of Critical Care Nurses

American Heart Association
Sources
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