no monitor tech?

  1. I just started as a CNA on an Intermediate Cardiac Care unit. It is a telemetry unit but they said they recently lost the monitor tech. So my question is, if nobody is watching the monitors, then what is the purpose? There have got to be some abnormalities going on that nobody is catching. Maybe I just don't understand how it works. Can somebody explain it to me?
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    About LanaBanana

    Joined: Oct '05; Posts: 1,042; Likes: 15
    Specialty: Level III cardiac/telemetry

    30 Comments

  3. by   jmgrn65
    how are they going to know if someone goes into a dysrthmia? They are setting themselves up for a lawsuit. someone has to watch the monitors, someone trained to read telemetry.
  4. by   Dinith88
    Quote from LanaBanana
    Maybe I just don't understand how it works. Can somebody explain it to me?
    YOu're right, you dont understand how it works. First off, if the unit is 'telemetry' the nurses will be trained to read the monitors. Second, the monitors record everything that it 'thinks' is abnormal and the nurse can review the alarms and see if anything wierd has happened (how often she looks at the monitor to review the alarms depends on the nurse..) Third, if a patient goes into an abnormal or dangerous rhythm, the monitor will bong and scream until someone shuts it up (and looks at the rhythm).

    Nurses can become dependent(lazy) on monitor techs, but it is my opinion that they are a waste of money/assets. Many (most!) hospitals dont use them. Todays tele monitors are very accurate...to the point that they are usually 'over' sensitive and bong when they dont need to. Which, i suppose, is better than not being sensitive enough.
  5. by   jmgrn65
    yes but if no one is near the monitors who is going to hear the alarms bonging? If someone is astolye or VT who is going to know.
  6. by   truern
    Goodness, on my unit we not only have a monitor tech with their own set of monitors, but we have another whole bank of monitors at the nurses' station. There's not a snowball's chance in heck that somebody won't know when there's something going on.
  7. by   Dinith88
    Quote from jmgrn65
    yes but if no one is near the monitors who is going to hear the alarms bonging? If someone is astolye or VT who is going to know.
    hmmm. Do units exist that dont have at least one person at the station all the time???

    OK. I've never worked a unit where a nurse wasnt either in the station or within earshot of the 'loud' monitors.

    I suppose if the unit is either so spread-out or understaffed that at times no-one is within earshot...or in the station... then i guess it'd be acceptable to pay someone to sit and stare at the monitors with the panic-phone/button. Although if a unit is THAT empty or slow, it would seem even more a drain on limited funds to have a monitor-sitter.

    And did i mention that i firmly believe nurses who rely on monitor techs are less capable of reading tele/rhythms than nurses who do it themselves???
  8. by   LanaBanana
    I guess the problem is that our monitor station is separate from the nurses station. The area where the monitors are is also where the CNAs seem to hang out when things get slow, or to stop and sit for a minute - sitting while folding washcloths of course! But when an alarm went off on the monitors I asked one of the other aids what it was for and she said "beats me." Doesn't seem like the best set-up, but I know our unit is up for a remodel soon so they will probably incorporate the monitor area into the regular nurses station. For the time being though, I'm not sure what's going on. Maybe I'll ask one of the nurses the situation tomorrow.
  9. by   CarVsTree
    I work on a tele unit with no monitor techs. In fact the entire hospital (and pretty much all the hospitals in the area) no longer use monitor techs. The tele system has loud audible alarms for dysrythmias, tachy, brady, etc. There are two types of alarms. One goes beep (less worrisome). Then there's the ding ding - only goes off for dangerous arrythmias. You can still here the monitors inside pt's rooms. In addition, the tele monitor calls the beeper that the nurse is carrying which displays a message for the reason for the alarm. For example HR >100 105. So, if you have a pt. running in the 90's you can set the tachy alarm for say 110. If you have a pt who is always tachy you can set it higher. If you have a pt. with an irregular HR you can turn the irregular HR alarm off so it is not going off every 20 seconds.

    So, monitor techs are not necessary as long as you have a system that will alert the RN of alarms.
    Last edit by CarVsTree on Aug 24, '06
  10. by   vamedic4
    I'm sorry I have to completely disagree with the above post about having no monitor techs and that being a good thing. Competent techs can cut a nurses workload in half by effectively reducing their unnecessary response to alarms that are inconsequential...and we all know which one's those are.
    Working in cardiology, our nurses are dependent on telemetry techs for strip interpretation and to alert them to potential problems...but to not have tele techs at all seems a very dangerous precedent to set.

    Oh, and these computers aren't the most accurate on the planet, either. They frequently alarm when nothing is actually wrong, or when the patient is moving, going to the bathroom, et cetera. Our ability to ignore this leaves the RN able to do more important things...like the important patient care she's paid for.

    If we have any question about a rhythm, we send someone in immediately..and they can advise us if escalation is necessary.

    vamedic4
    Going to orientation
  11. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from vamedic4
    I'm sorry I have to completely disagree with the above post about having no monitor techs and that being a good thing. Competent techs can cut a nurses workload in half by effectively reducing their unnecessary response to alarms that are inconsequential...and we all know which one's those are.
    Working in cardiology, our nurses are dependent on telemetry techs for strip interpretation and to alert them to potential problems...but to not have tele techs at all seems a very dangerous precedent to set.

    Oh, and these computers aren't the most accurate on the planet, either. They frequently alarm when nothing is actually wrong, or when the patient is moving, going to the bathroom, et cetera. Our ability to ignore this leaves the RN able to do more important things...like the important patient care she's paid for.

    If we have any question about a rhythm, we send someone in immediately..and they can advise us if escalation is necessary.

    vamedic4
    Going to orientation

    :yeahthat:
  12. by   suzy253
    I work in a step-down telemetry unit. The charge nurse watches the monitors constantly as she's behind the nurses station. The RN's review the monitors and print out strips of their patients to read the strips and they're saved in the telemetry book.
  13. by   Brita01
    It's fine if a nurse who knows how to read telemetry is sitting there at all times. But when I did agency I worked in a place where there was no monitor tech and no charge nurse sitting behind the desk (she had her own full load of patients). So there were long periods of time where no one was watching the monitors. And that's just unacceptable.
  14. by   floridaRNtoo
    It is interesting to see the various replies. Our telemetry unit has a bank of monitors inside the nursing station. There is no way I can hear the alarms in the rooms. Most the the alarms are artifact garbage. If I had to respond to everyone of those alarms no patient care would get done! In our ICU there are monitors in the rooms and overhead in all 4 corners of the nurses station as well as near the charge nurses area. On that unit I can see no need for a dedicated person to sit and watch monitors but.... not with the setup we have on our telemetry step-down unit.:uhoh21:

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