What will a nursing student learn on a telemetry floor?

Nurses General Nursing

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Hi everyone!

I'm a nursing student (first year - diploma program) starting next month! :yeah: I have an interview next Friday for a nursing assistant position on a telemetry floor. I know basically what a nursing assistant does (my school requires us to take a nursing assistant course before starting school in August. I'm in it now and LOVE it! It started last week and we've already had 3 days of clinicals). So, my school's hospital (my school is apart of a hospital - it's a diploma program) allows us to work there as nursing assistants when we're done with the course (end of this month).

So, I just wanted to know what you guys think (how helpful will it be in nursing school..I know I'll atleast learn how to read the EKG strips!)...what should I expect..any tips as a new nursing assistant who is also a student..any advice in general (as well as what should I express in the interview. I'm a 2nd career person..who worked in corporate America. However, I worked as a unit secretary years before entering corporate America).

Thanks all!! :bowingpur

Specializes in Hospital Education Coordinator.

You will learn various protocols (what actions to take at what times), whom to call in case of emergency, "routine" orders from MD's for certain diagnoses--- If you connect the dots you will learn what diagnoses resulted from lifestyle and previous conditions (for instance, how many people who have open heart surgery are diabetic?). If you ask questions you will learn a lot. Good luck. Sounds like a neat opportunity.

Specializes in M/S, MICU, CVICU, SICU, ER, Trauma, NICU.

Anyone who can read EKG/Tele strips are WAY ahead of the game.

I know many, many nurses who haven't a clue.

Specializes in Neuro, peds.

i was on a telemetry floor for two clinicals in nursing school. lots of cardiac meds and EKG strips. a lot of patients are diabetic too.

RNKPCE

1,170 Posts

Depends how your hospital works, where I work the nurse's aides do not learn heart rhythms or EKG's but if that is an expectation of a nurse's aide there then I think it is great. If you are just there working your shift you will absorb a fair amount if you actively ask questions and are motivated to go beyond you will witness, learn and gain a lot, from time management, to disease processes, to watching RN's interact with ancillary staff and MD. It just depends how much effort you put into it.

Keysnurse2008

554 Posts

hi everyone!

i'm a nursing student (first year - diploma program) starting next month! :yeah: i have an interview next friday for a nursing assistant position on a telemetry floor. i know basically what a nursing assistant does (my school requires us to take a nursing assistant course before starting school in august. i'm in it now and love it! it started last week and we've already had 3 days of clinicals). so, my school's hospital (my school is apart of a hospital - it's a diploma program) allows us to work there as nursing assistants when we're done with the course (end of this month).

so, i just wanted to know what you guys think (how helpful will it be in nursing school..i know i'll atleast learn how to read the ekg strips!)...what should i expect..any tips as a new nursing assistant who is also a student..any advice in general (as well as what should i express in the interview. i'm a 2nd career person..who worked in corporate america. however, i worked as a unit secretary years before entering corporate america).

thanks all!! :bowingpur

you will learn a tremendous amount of valuable information and gain insight on alot of disease processes. it is one thing to learn about chf in a book. it is quite another to see how that actually manifests in the ekg strip. you can see the low qrs voltage waves...maybe afib....long qti...different things in diff patients. chf results in a big enlarged floppy heart ( basically)....and all the abnormal conduction issues that go along with it. you will learn about the effects of digoxin and see it....you will learn about the effects of beta blockers and see their effects......cardizem when the rate runs high and see how it affects things. it is just an incredible opportunity for you.....so.....good for you! this is great!

GratefulHeart

171 Posts

You'll learn a lot about the balancing act that occurs between the heart, the lungs, and the kidneys...how to care for people experiencing CHF, CP, CAD, COPD, diabetes, and renal failure (among other conditions). You'll learn about fluid and blood sugar management, supporting circulation and respiration, putting together what is going on with your patients by correlating their clinical presentation with their vital signs, as well as the results of their labs, imaging studies and other tests (a dynamic process that is continually changing). You'll learn to recognize early signs/symptoms that require further assessment and intervention. You'll learn to continually zoom in on pertinent details while at the same time zooming back to capture the larger picture - prioritizing and reprioritizing your patients' needs and what to do about them.

Lovelymo79

908 Posts

Specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

Thanks so much for your replies!! I am definitely a "why and how" type girl! I am interested in working in ICU after graduation and thought this would be a good introduction. As far as I know, the nursing assistants don't HAVE to learn how to read the EKG strips but I definitely want to learn and if the nurses are willing, I'm going for it!

I heard the nurses were nice and the Nurse Manager was as well..as well as willing to work with my schedule. So I'm definitely excited!

yesdog, BSN, RN

177 Posts

Specializes in SICU.

You will learn sooooo much if you want to. I did. It was a great experience for clinicals. My last semester, I was able to do clinicals in the ICU and then also for my capstone. BEcause of these clinical experiences, I was able to land a job in SICU. I start on Monday!!! WooHoo!!!

You will have a great experience. Enjoy!!!!

CanuckStudent

102 Posts

You will learn various protocols (what actions to take at what times), whom to call in case of emergency, "routine" orders from MD's for certain diagnoses--- If you connect the dots you will learn what diagnoses resulted from lifestyle and previous conditions (for instance, how many people who have open heart surgery are diabetic?). If you ask questions you will learn a lot. Good luck. Sounds like a neat opportunity.

Lifestyle AND previous conditions (e.g. diabetes), or lifestyle OR previous conditions? ;)

Let's not forget that not all 'diabetics' are obese/overweight Type 2s with multiple cardio risk factors related to lifestyle. Type 1 (autoimmune) diabetes, MODY, LADA, neonatal mongeneic mutations (such as KIR6.2), etc. are all diabetes forms not related to lifestyle nor preventable.

Sorry, this is just a research interest for me, so I have to always rant about people lumping all forms of 'diabetes' together. I also tend to come off as abrasive, please excuse that. My main focus of interest is autoimmune diseases, including Type 1 diabetes. :) So please forgive me. I'm a little touchy. A patient with one of these less common forms of diabetes may thank you (the OP) one day for actually knowing the difference. Sadly, many general nurses receive little education beyond knowing if the patient " does/does not take insulin". I've known at least one Type 1 diabetic patient who went into DKA due to a viral infection. The RN in the ER told him that "he must have lost a lot of weight" as he was thin. Completely not realizing that almost all Type 1 diabetics ARE thin and fit, because the disease has nothing to do with weight. Ouch.

Anyway, on the diabetes note, one thing you may notice is what's called "Long Q-T" syndrome. It can happen during periods of hypo and hyperglycemia (NOT just during DKA, which I believe is a relatively new discovery). Also interesting is that some studies seem to indicate that a percentage of Type 1 diabetics (I believe all studies were in peds populations) also have a congenital/familial form of Long Q-T that is always present, upping their risk for sudden cardiac death (particularly during nocturnal hypoglycemia). I personally don't know much, but the assumption may be that there may be a genetic link to both diseases in a subset of families. But don't quote me on that, or anything, for that matter. This is meant to inspire you to do your own investigating. ;) Please note that persistent Long Q-T syndrome in general is rare, but in the diabetic population, seemingly not as rare.

Of course, Long Q-T syndrome can occur in all patients with diabetes (primarily due to diabetic autonomic neuropathy). There are other things that you will discover such as LVH, which also is seen more frequently in the diabetic population (including Type 1s). You may also want to research which meds should not be given to a patient experiencing Long Q-T for example, such as (certain?) anti-histamines (have to double check that, I believe that I'm correct).

Anyway, I'm just a lowly student too (everyone here could eat me alive with their knowledge), but I thought I'd post simply because I can relate to the OP. I think it's great when students are eager to learn as much as they can. I like that!

To the OP, Good luck and enjoy yourself! To the poster I replied to, this was just a general response not direct at you personally, I simply used what you said as a stepping stone. :up:

Diaper, RN

87 Posts

Being a CNA will definitely enhance your time management skills which is essential in nursing.

When I was a CNA in the nursing home, I had to take care of 9 patients. Most of them were males and 200Ibs each ! I'm only 5 foot tall (4'11 to be exact) and it was tremendously difficult for me to turn the patients, dressed them and put them on wheelchair by 10:30am. Therefore, I had to prioritize my patients and grab everything (eg, towels, washed cloths) in the patient's room at the beginning of the shift.

Right now, I'm a RN and I'm so grateful that I worked as a CNA before because it had enhanced my time management skills and know how to give a bedbath, turn the patients and change the bed efficiently.

Good luck with everything :)

Lovelymo79

908 Posts

Specializes in CTICU/CVICU.

Just to update..I got the job! Orientation isn't for awhile :(..a whole month..but I'm looking forward to it. My NM is also over the other critical areas so I'll have a chance to float..which is great. I'm looking forward to the learning opportunities!

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