A Day in the life of a Telemetry Nurse? - page 3

by ivyleaf | 17,331 Views | 28 Comments

Hello, I'm considering applying for a job on a tele unit and am interested in learning more about telemetry. If anyone could answer these questions, it would be much appreciated! What is a typical shift like? How much... Read More


  1. 0
    I'm actually a new grad on a telemetry floor! I go off on my own at the end of this month (both excited and super nervous!)

    *A typical shift is pretty busy. But even though it is so busy, I think that is where you get the best experiences. There is SO many different patients that end up on the floor so you kind of get a bit of everything. Typically, you start of pulling strips, seeing patients/assessments, AM meds, and then get around to charting and doing all of the miscellaneous tasks that are due like dressing changes, skin care, etc.

    *Personal care on our floor is typically done by the patient care aids. They do the bathing, help feedings, bring trays to patients, vitals. If they are too busy to do so, the RN usually does their own accuchecks or helping the patient to the commodes/restroom.

    *The patients' mobility varies. The patients are mostly elderly so they have mobility issues; but on our floor we really have no "total care" patients that need help doing everything. Generally they are patients who need help being turned every 2 hours, or help getting up to te restroom; but they can usually feed themselves, or reach for things if they need them.

    *The main tasks on the floor are meds, skin cares, occasional dressing changes, things like that.

    *Usually running around; but so far nothing I feel I can't handle. If I get behind i just try to replan my day around so that I can get things back on track. The nurses on my floor average 6-7 (then there are admits/discharges). I am up to 5, and it seems to be going fairly well. The day seems to go by fast too if you are running around for most of it!

    Goodluck!
  2. 0
    I started in telemetry last fall, returning Monday morning after a couple months of maternity leave.
  3. 3
    Quote from simonemyheart

    That's my day or at least the first 3 hours, the other 9 are just as bad.
    sooo true. this is the closest depiction to a day in the life. i'd like to also add that my floor does "tele triage" for JCAHO which means VERY high turnover. we are expected to call the doctors daily and clear out anybody w/o arrhythmias etc, which we do-resulting in DOUBLE the patients per shift. usually i end up charting/medicating 10 different patients, and meeting the requests of tea, warm blankets, and lotioned up butts.

    if you interview, ask how many pt's per nurse AND how many aides! they can really save the day if they are in the mood.
  4. 1
    Simonemyheart....I feel the exact same way you do. Word for word.
    GrinchyRN likes this.
  5. 0
    Great place to start out and to learn a LOT. Running my butt off and a lot of stress, but again I have learned a lot. Hoping to get into the cardiology group as an office RN at my hospital now...if that works out, this stent in tele would be totally worth it.
  6. 2
    Laughing at the making them a sundae part. We are glorified waitresses.


    Quote from simonemyheart
    I get to work about 6:45, get my pt assignment for the day. I look up the H&P, consults, order's, labs, VS hx - to not trend or change.

    I go and look in on my pt's rooms to make sure no one is in distress and assess who is the most critical.

    I get report on my pt's during walking rounds, I check IV sites, IV tubing, rates of drips. Who's on a drip, who's getting antibiotic or other IV fluids, who's on maintenance fluids. Is there any out of date tubing, IV's, is everything labeled.

    I only really write down in report info that I have not looked up and all the nurses know that I do this so it's no longer a problem.

    We do not have doctors in our hospital at all times so I like to call the MD's in the AM regarding orders I may need - pt in pain -need pain meds, low H&H as compared to previous labs, a decline of of pt's condition, Dr. So and So has cleared this pt can they be DC'ed, clarify meds, etc.

    I like to it this way b/c our floor gets crazy busy and it's easier to do whatever I can earlier.

    I pull my meds, grab supplies, and to my morning assessments. I make sure I focus on lung sounds - with IV fluids I hate fluid overload, pulses, perfusion, O2 sat, VS, heart sounds, LOC, all that good stuff.

    In between all this Im being called away for phone calls, pt in pain, pt has nausea, demanding family members who want to know why my grandpa who just had a stroke is NPO, critical labs coming in, some pt's heart rate is in the 30's, Im getting a new admit when I already have 6 pt's...........

    After all this maybe I have time to sit down and chart, while Im charting the unit director wants to know why I'm charting when I could be the room talking to my pt about there life - BECAUSE I AM TRYING TO SAVE THEIR LIFE AND IF I DON'T CHART YOU WILL BE ASKING ME WHY HAVEN'T I CHARTED YET.

    Then their are random people who want to know if grandma can have more vanilla ice cream but can I make it look like a sundae and mix it with chocolate pudding with crushed graham crackers on top. And of course I have to jump up and do it because we have to keep those HCAP scores up and my favorite thing to do is play waitress.

    Pt X spent all his time asking me questions about anything and everything and I answer but not to his satisfaction and then the doctor comes in and gives him the same answer but he forgets the rest of his questions and is on the call light wanting to know more answers when he could have asked to the doctor 30 seconds ago but he tells me that he doesn't want to bother the doctor because he is too busy. Yeah, like I'm not.

    That's my day or at least the first 3 hours, the other 9 are just as bad.
    turnforthenurseRN and GrinchyRN like this.
  7. 0
    Oh, so true! Aides/techs can absolutely make or break you. Unfortunately, on my 30 bed tele unit, we are usually short staffed and 50% of the time, work with no techs. Oh, how I hate those nights!
  8. 1
    I am a telemetry nurse working nights. Nowadays with the new federal healthcare reimbursement and the tight budget, we do not get CNAs at night anymore. At first I was miserable but now I am used to taking my own vitals, turning and cleaning my own patients, calling the doctor re a new Vtach, calming down a confused non compliant patient, accepting a new admission, and whatever else coming my way. Q insulin drip can wipe you out. Sometimes I wonder how I made it through the night. Yes working days can be crazy, but there is help, like CNAs and unencumbered charge nurses. There is also that sleepy thing at night. Nothing is perfect either way. All I know is that I love telemetry and am still learning everyday. It is ultra interesting and never boring, that's for sure.
    turnforthenurseRN likes this.
  9. 1
    As a new grad I worked ortho/neuro, and got bored with it. I worked telemetry for 4 years before progressing to progressive care, which is the step-down open heart unit of my hospital. I love it. My patents come up from our CVICU with chest tubes and pacer wires. I was uncomfortable at first, but not anymore. Are my days busy-yes, hectic-yes, rewarding-yes. Am I bored as a progressive care nurse no way! I learn something new almost every day. I say go for it, the more knowledge the better. Good Luck!
    turnforthenurseRN likes this.


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