Interpreting EKG strips

Nurses General Nursing


Hi everyone! We are going over interpreting EKG strips in nursing school and it is like GREEK to many of us. We are lost and have no idea how to interpret them... how to count the QRS interval, what it means, how to count from one P wave to the next, and so forth. The teacher whizzed right through it and everyone is confused. I am REALLY interested in this as I want to go into Cardiac Nursing. I really want to know what I am doing here. Is there by-chance a book or something like 'EKG for Dummies' or something that really breaks it down and explains it?? We are having a quiz on it AND a test and the class is lost.

Thanks very much for your assistance!! Epona

:trc: HELP!!! :tku:


908 Posts


i posted some information in another thread a couple of days ago but here is where its located:

here is just websites that aren't posted in the above link!


32 Posts

Specializes in MICU.

Try "Rapid Interpretion of EKGs" by Dale Dubin, MD. It makes it easy to understand the whole EKG from cardiac functioning to applying the electrodes to interpreting the strips. My husband's cardiologist told me today that he used it in to learn EKGs when he was in medical school 30 years ago and I am using it today to increase my understanding.

Good luck.


Eirene, ASN, RN

499 Posts

Try "Rapid Interpretion of EKGs" by Dale Dubin, MD.

I love Dubins book (6th ed.). Highly recommend it.

TopazLover, BSN, RN

8 Articles; 728 Posts

Dubins, hands down, at least me.

Daytonite, BSN, RN

4 Articles; 14,603 Posts

Specializes in med/surg, telemetry, IV therapy, mgmt.

epona. . .in the ekg links posted for the nursing students on this sticky is an explanation of how to read and interpret an ekg strip including these two sites that tell you what each bar of the strip means (in seconds counted).

Specializes in Cardiac, ER.

Reading EKG's is something you learn with lots of experience! I worked 8yrs on a cardiac unit before transferring to ER and now I'm the one everyone turns to for help with EKG's! You have to do it a lot and have someone around to answer your questions and explain what you are looking at. The Dale Dubin book is fantastic, but again your have to look at many, many, many EKG's and keep your skills fresh to really be good at it! Good luck! I actually think cardiology is fascinating!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.


I have been teaching EKG interp for a loooooong time. So, believe me when I tell you that you are not abnormal. It usually takes 3 classes to really 'get it'

1. Intro class: Content is very confusing - students have glazed eyeballs after the first hour. They memorize names of 'stuff' but have great difficulty understanding concepts.. how the paper speed affects the tracing; what happens when you mess up lead placement, etc.

2. Second class: Some students remember 'stuff' from the first class. They begin to connect the dots & understand that the squiggly line is actually a representation of only one aspect (electrical conduction) of a very complex pumping system

3. Third Class: the AHA s begin! Students can imagine/visualize cardiac activity when they look at a strip. They can postulate the related physiological changes.

No worries - none of us were born knowing how to recognize a BBB. You'll get there.


784 Posts

Thanks everyone! These are some REALLY GREAT tips!! I am working on this now! Thanks again to all of you!!! Epona :icon_hug:


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