Feeling isolated at work


I realize this is lengthy but any input, advice or similar experiences you all have is much appreciated. I work in an ICU at one of the best hospitals in the country as a patient care tech who was cross trained for watching telemetry and assisting in invasive procedures at the bedside. I've been feeling pretty down lately because most of my shift is spent separated from the nurses station staring at a monitor. Before this job, I worked in a CV Surgical ICU where my job involved me interacting with patients and nurses for the entire 12 hours. I never sat down and was always busy helping out, or stocking the rooms, checking sugars, assisting with dressings, sometimes doing 8 baths a night by myself - and I LOVED it.

The hard work I was able to put in was noticed and so I was able to see more, the nurses would offer me bits of knowledge (new terms, numbers and correlations), involve me in conversation and I never heard a bad word said about me while I was there. I was always asking questions. I was always on my feet. I even won "Nurse Tech of the Year Award" at that hospital in a ceremony during Nurses Week that is still is my highest achievement to this day. Then I decided to leave my "work family" to move closer to my mother after just over a year working there.

At this current hospital, I had signed up as a PCT for this specific unit due to previous experience but later found out I was expected to watch telemetry when there were not two techs scheduled for that shift (90% of the time). I was also asked to cross train as a Procedure Technician (which included watching tele) after my probationary period. I quickly decided this isn't what I want to do after 6 months - sitting down for 12 hours a day - and approached my NM, asking to keep me on as a PCT instead of a Procedure Tech. Sadly this unit doesn't have techs who only do direct patient care. I was told I will not be used frequently and might need to work on a floor, but as a solution she extended me the substantial pay increase close to what the other procedure technicians earn if I decided to be ok with the isolation. I figured "if this is all I have to do to make X per year" I can do it.

A year in and I feel useless. My job used to give me strength to keep going day to day because I knew what I did directly made a difference in someone's life that I could see with my eyes. It was heavy work but I knew that my work was felt. I was proud of who I was everyday reflecting on the things I did. Currently, I am not allowed to leave the monitor without permission, i must always have my eyes on the monitor (I am monitored as well), I am separated from the nurses but within earshot, and I maybe do patient care once per pay period. I hear some nurses saying hurtful things all while thinking if I was able to get up and help them, they'd like me. I can't engage in casual conversation without raising my voice for them to hear, and hardly anybody talks to me. I feel overjoyed when someone decides to treat me like a human and talk to me.

My updates about patient vital signs on the monitor are either seen as too much or too little, always hearing snickering when I get uneasy about something or frustration that I didn't call a situation out sooner, comments about how they wish they had a REAL tech on the unit to help. Someone once, without meaning to be hurtful, told me to go back to my chair when I had a question regarding a telemetry strip I printed. Am I setting myself up to fail with this job? Have any of you ever been isolated at work? I absolutely LOVE my unit and I want my coworkers to like me too. I enjoy being in a cardiac intensive care environment vs a floor, but I feel like this particular job is hurting my mental health.

Thanks for reading


570 Posts

Sounds like a bad environment and a boring job. Trust me I worked as a monitor tech and I hated it. Some people loved it but not me.

I would switch units or floors. Nothing is worth mind numbing boredom and a toxic work environment.


4 Posts

It's actually a great environment. I have learned so much about cardiac patients in this job. How to analyze rhythms at a basic level, learning why they have a certain morphology, when an interval is shorter/longer what that might mean about how the heart is functioning, learning about MAPs and medications used in stabilizing pressures and rhythms. I am thankful for that. But you're right, it is a boring, cold and thankless job. I appreciate you taking the time to give some advice

Has 21 years experience.

You sound unhappy with your current position. Life is to short to be doing something that makes you feel that way. If unable to truly transfer to a primarily bedside role as you seem to enjoy and want, I would consider looking elsewhere if there are other employers in your area.

The way you describe your love for working with patients, we need more employees like that to fill these positions. The patients can sense who loves their job and whose there for a paycheck. Having someone who is genuinely happy to be there can make a huge difference in their whole experience. I'm sorry your employer has not been able/willing to work with you to make this happen. It sounds like they are really short on monitor techs and since you're willing to continue working in that role, they'll continue staffing the position accordingly unless you stand your ground. Just make sure you have another job lined up when you do.


38,333 Posts

Have you given a thought to going to nursing school?


4 Posts

I agree NurseSpeedy, and I certainly don't feel like part of a team. Whether it's with a lot of nurses or with doctors on the unit during procedures who rotate to another department every 3 weeks (it's a teaching hospital). There are some amazing doctors who have treated me with so much respect and appreciation. They are the people I go above and beyond for. Nurses as well. And I have learned a lot more about cardiac patients if I were to pursue cardiac nursing or critical care nursing in general one day. I guess it's just not the right fit for me - at this moment? Weighing the pros and cons right now


4 Posts

I hope to go back to school for my prerequisites this upcoming semester at a community college. I just turned 23 so it's a big wake up call when I'm starting to see nurses my age! I've been doing this for four years so I hope I can commit to school again after just working


149 Posts

"Nurses my age"?! You're just a pup, and you've already been a tech for 4 years, a monitor tech for over 1 year! Give yourself a little credit.

Monitor techs are in the perfect place to get sneered at. Their job requires that they sit hard and not lose focus for a minute. OK, to a nurse or tech running his/her behind off on a busy floor, it may look like a cushy job. But it isn't, and you know that.

I totally relate to the loss of patient contact, though. My new job in psych involves a whole lot less therapeutic conversation and intervention and a whole lot more planning, coordinating, and charting than I thought. I make time for personal contact whenever I can, though--I do have some down time on most days; but, as a monitor tech, you really don't get down time. Is there any room for mixing it up a bit? Like working as a monitor tech some days and a patient care tech on others?

As a long-term solution, though, why not go for the RN? You seem to enjoy a challenge--you'd probably make a great nurse. The pairing of a desire to touch people with the desire to learn is absolutely perfect for nursing, I think. Or med school? Why not? Go for it!

Best wishes!

Has 33 years experience.

So why aren't you taking a floor PCT position? If patient care is what you want, go to where the patient care is needed.