Published Nov 20, 2003
What are some of your "regular" duties? I keep seeing a need for Telemetry Nurses, and was curious as to their duties. Thanks :)
A Telemetry nurse does much of the same things you would do on a Med/Surg floor. But since all the patients are connected to cardiac monitors, the heart rhythms must be moniotred and documented. This requires a "Basic Arrythmia" Class. Also required is an ACLS certification so the nurse can run a Code Blue, at least until the Code Team arrives. After the team arrives, the nurse fills the ER Doc on the patient's history and takes whatever role is necessary: pushing meds, recording, bagging, etc. Our facility required and provided yet another "Telemetry" class that focused on the heart problems in general and cardiac meds. Many of the patients on the Telemetry floor have just had Angioplasty and need to have their arterial sheathes pulled (if it hasn't been done in the Cath Lab). This can be taught to you once you begin working there. Also common to the floor are post Open Hearts. The incisions have to be watched and cared for, and the pacer wire dressings have to be changed - again something you learn on the job.
You will also find that each hospital runs their telemetry floor differently. Where I work not all the patients are monitored. We get med-surg overflow frequently. We can potentially get any patient in the hospital. We have had post partum mom's that develop tachycardia after delivery or CHF. We once had a two year old that needed to be monitored for 12hrs after eating Oleander leaves. Peds on our unit are rare. We may get an ORIF of a hip and the patient has a chronic heart condition. We get stroke patient espec if the pt went into atrial fibrillation. We can potentially get any post op patient if there is a reason to be monitored. Our main patient population are chest pains, post op Open hearts, percutanious cardiac interventions such as ptca, or stents- we don't take arterial lines, CHF, Syncope and Arrhythmmias. We all are eventually ACLS certified and function as the recorder in hospital wide codes. New grads will take ACLS later. It is a great starting point for someone who might later want to do critical care. There is a lot of teaching involved espec with CHF patients and open heart patients. I started on a tele unit almost 17 years ago as a new grad and haven't wanted to leave yet.
As the above poster stated, not all tele units are run alike. Some floors have monitoring for some but not all patients, and do not require ACLS. Many med-surg and oncology units have telemetry beds available also.
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