Floated to Tele, no experience...

  1. 3
    I work per diem as an agency nurse. My specialty is med/surg. A few times I've been floated to Tele/DOU. I am clueless regarding cardiac issues and rhythms. I had to ask the charge nurse what I should do every time the monitor tech called with a rhythm change with my pts. I had to get someone to review and sign off on my strips at the end of the shift. I spent the entire night asking questions about what to do and trying to understand why. It's not safe and I don't feel comfortable taking others word for what to do regarding pts that I am responsible for. I'm going to ask the hospital if there is a class I can attend if there is a chance I will keep ending up in working Tele from time to time. Just wondering if anyone knows of any good material that I can use to teach myself the rhythms and nursing interventions or something that will give me a clue. Staffing doesn't understand when I tell them I dont work Tele. They say it's like med surg and that I just need to get someone to sign off on my strips. I'm expected to be flexible since I'm agency and I dont want to get put on the do not return list. So I have decided to take it upon myself to learn enough to function on a Tele floor. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.
    Meriwhen, NF_eyenurse, and lindarn like this.
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  3. 14 Comments so far...

  4. 3
    A basic EKG interpretation course would help you learn a lot. If you're more interested in learning the interventions- particularly for emergency situations, ACLS certification will be very helpful. You'll learn the rhythms, what preliminary interventions are attempted (vagal maneuvers for SVT, etc), what medications are given, and how to respond in a code situation.
  5. 2
    American Heart Association has the best info.
    I was in the same situation many years ago. It is a very uncomfortable feeling. Your agency or the hospital should provide you with a course . I wouldn't suggest a self taught program, telemetry interpretation is complicated.

    Just remember when handed a strip... do a quick assessment of your patient, inlcuding vital signs and check for chest pain , palpitations or shortness of breath. Then have the charge nurse interpret the strip and have her tell you what the rhythm is.

    Good luck!
    NF_eyenurse and lindarn like this.
  6. 3
    We handle situations like this, usually when nurses are pulled from other floors, pretty much the same way. The Tele nurses are each assigned one of the pulled nurses patients and must sign off on the strips and keep an eye their monitors. It may not be ideal for either nurse but it really is the best thing you can do in the given situation. Just my opinion, regardless of your speciality you need to have a very good understanding of basic cardiac rhythms. In my experience as a monitor tech we have more codes on med/surg floors than on cardiac. Nothing is more frustrating than calling a med/surg nurse and telling them their patient is in ventricular escape in the 30s and them having to first ask what that means and then ask what they should do about it.
  7. 2
    Quote from ChaseZ
    We handle situations like this, usually when nurses are pulled from other floors, pretty much the same way. The Tele nurses are each assigned one of the pulled nurses patients and must sign off on the strips and keep an eye their monitors. It may not be ideal for either nurse but it really is the best thing you can do in the given situation. Just my opinion, regardless of your speciality you need to have a very good understanding of basic cardiac rhythms. In my experience as a monitor tech we have more codes on med/surg floors than on cardiac. Nothing is more frustrating than calling a med/surg nurse and telling them their patient is in ventricular escape in the 30s and them having to first ask what that means and then ask what they should do about it.
    The nurse asking a telemetry tech what to do should never happen.
    That unit sounds like a mess.
    You could go a long way towards resolving that unsafe situation.
    Make yourself aware of the nurses that you know are not trained in telemetry.
    Any rhythms that require attention , notify the charge nurse and the patients' nurse at the same time.

    There is no excuse for a delay when an unstable patient needs an intervention.
    I bet management will appreciate your proactive measures
    CCL RN and lindarn like this.
  8. 0
    I don't know if you carry telemetry pagers on your floor but if you're NOT formally trained to interpret ECGs don't take the responsibility on that piece of care... talk to the charge nurse if they or someone who is ECGs trained to carry the telemetry pager while you provide the non-telemetry care. It's not worth losing your licence over if something does happen to the patient-- telemetry wise. There's always other jobs and angencies out there.
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    our hospital doesn't allow pulled nurses on our floor unless they are from another tele unit and have been through the certifications. if your hospital does allow that, i think they should at least provide adequate training.
  10. 1
    We often have float nurses on our floor, it's hard to give report to them bc they are pretty clueless about post-cath orders, groin assessment, etc. Though when I floated to ortho I was just as bad, and had to cry to the charge nurse to set up traction for me. :-P

    It's SOP for the charge nurse to take care of your strips. Just go to the monitor tech at the beginning, let them know you are not comfortable with rhythms and have them page the charge nurse instead of you if there's a problem (tell the CN first of course lol). Though you are an RN and know that VFIB is bad, etc. It would be great to educate yourself more, and you may even be paid more for ACLS in some areas. But it's not uncommon, or unsafe, and probably won't change any time soon.
    NurseNightOwl likes this.
  11. 1
    I really love the Basic Arrhythmias book by Brady. Here is a link: Basic Arrhythmias, 7th Edition: Gail Walraven: 9780135002384: Amazon.com: Books

    You work your way through the book from easiest to hardest. This is the book they used to teach nurses telemetry where I work.
    NurseNightOwl likes this.
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    I agree with all the other posts about ACLS being super helpful. I kept my huge med-surg book from nursing school and find the cardiology sections very good review as well. I can't suggest any books as most of my training was through ACLS and then on the job, but this online tool helped me a lot and I return to it frequently when I'm bored and have a few minutes to burn.

    ECG Simulator | SkillStat Learning - Fast, Fun and Effective!
    gs776, NurseNightOwl, and HappyWife77 like this.


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