What is telemetry?

  1. I have seen ads in the paper for nurses in telemetry. Anyone know what it is? Thanks!
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   LindseyLou2222
    Pts are on heart monitors that are constantly reading their heart rhythms. There is always someone watching their rhythms in a monitor room. At my hospital its really used as a step down from ICU. So I see some pretty acute cases in there. Anyone who has chest pains or basically anything cardio, gets sent to our floor.
  4. by   Daytonite
    Patients are sent to telemetry units when their physicians, for some reason, wants them on 24-hour monitoring of their EKG. EKG pads are placed on the patient and a small box attached to them with wire. The box is a transsmitter that sends a continuous signal to a central location of monitors where someone is constantly watching each patient's heart rhythm and rate. Many of these newer systems are able to record 24 hours or more of the patient's EKGs for the physicians to review when they come in for their visits. The advantage to this is if the patient develops an arrhythmia, the nurses can note it immediately and treat it based on pre-written protocols. Physicians can also note changes in a patient's rhythm and base their medication orders on what works or doesn't work to correct a patient's arrhythmia. Nurses on telemetry units are usually required to take an EKG interpretation class very soon after starting to work there if they don't already have this skill. Some units also require ACLS certification of their telemetry nurses.

    As the other poster said, telemetry may be called ICU stepdown or CCU stepdown. On the ICU stepdown I worked, we often got patients during the night shift that the doctors wanted monitored until they came in to see them the next morning. We also had patients that were either transitioning between going to ICU or coming out of ICU. We were cross trained to work in ICU (that's where we usually had to float). Telemetry units get more than their fair share of code blues.

    Be very careful of taking a job on a telemetry unit if you are a new grad. They are often very hectic units and some of them have difficulty retaining staff because of the level of skill and sheer constant activity occurring on them. You can interpret that as "having no time to sit down and take a break". A new grad going onto a telemetry unit should be promised a very good orientation and precepting before accepting a job on this kind of unit.
  5. by   LindseyLou2222
    Amen to that! ^
  6. by   GMD
    In our hospital here its just a cardiac floor. Not as intense as ICU. Nurse to pt ratio 8 to 1,
  7. by   andre
    Quote from GMD
    In our hospital here its just a cardiac floor. Not as intense as ICU. Nurse to pt ratio 8 to 1,

    8:1?? Holy carp! Yikes!

    On my tele floor,it's a max of 5:1 on days, and usually it's more like 4:1. Nights does 5:1 pretty routinely.

    I started in tele as a new grad and I LOVE it. It's all in what interests you, really. Though I often have progressive care patients--that's our ICU stepdown classification, folks I have to document on q2h--as well as tele patients that I document on q4h--I don't really see that I'm necessarily busier or have more acute patients than the med/surg floor. But med/surg usually has a 5:1 or 6:1 patient assignment, and they have all those orthos (blech) and PCAs.....and post ops with frequent vitals and assessments. No, thanks! I much prefer the tele focus and yes, I am quite busy on day shift...but I have found my niche! I had an 8 week orientation and though I still ask a lot of questions (just graduated in May, took NCLEX early June, started new grad program in mid-July, came off orientation mid-september), I feel very supported and like I'm part of the team.

    If you like cardiac stuff, check it out! You'll get your MI patients, CP r/o MI, CHF, pacemakers, cardiac cath patients, etc.
    Andrea
  8. by   Daytonite
    Each telemetry unit is different, so you have to investigate what kinds of patients they are caring for. The telemetry unit I worked on was an ICU Stepdown/Telemetry. We had patients on ventilators, comatose patients, post-op thoracotomies with chest tubes, dopamine drips sometimes and occassionally had to do some hemodynamic monitoring on patients with Swan lines. Our acuity was very high, so the nurse/patient ratio was low. However, I have seen telemetry units that were just cardiac patients who were ambulatory and only there for monitoring where the nurse/patient ratio was 10 to 1. Depends, as I said.
  9. by   LindseyLou2222
    Daytonite and I must work on the same floor, lol. But seriously as a new grad, I was working many nights with an 7 - 8 to 1 ratio on pts. with very high acuity. No time for a break and at least 13 hour days. Its a tough floor.
  10. by   shomelggs
    Im and NA on a tele floor and it can get hetic at time-than there are days like Xmas and we only had 20 pts out of 66. Most of the NA's on our floor become Staff Nurses. Some of the other nurses to us this was easier to do since we had and idea of what was needed and why
  11. by   Havin' A Party!
    Expecting a job offer for a spot in tele evenings. Ratio 5:1 usually and 6:1 max.

    Orientation will be 8-12 weeks.

    Excited!
  12. by   skyyhiflygirl
    I am a student nurse assistant on telemetry. We actually have 4 telemetry units, each one is 30 beds and each has a completely different focus, though all of them monitor cardiac rhythms. . .

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