Telemetry Nurse

What Is a Telemetry Nurse?

Telemetry nurses specialize in caring for patients with cardiovascular complications (i.e. heart disease, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias), neurological issues, and other serious medical conditions that require continuous monitoring via special medical technology. One of the most common medical devices that telemetry nurses use is the electrocardiogram. It's quite common for these nurses to care for patients who are recovering from various forms of cardiac intervention, like a coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery or a cardiac stent. It's important to distinguish ICU nurses and nurses who work in the Cardiac Care Unit from telemetry nurses. Patients who end up on the telemetry floor generally have been transferred there from the ICU and are considered more stable but still require continuous and close monitoring. Telemetry nurses focus on carefully reviewing data derived from monitoring equipment and use it to quickly draw conclusions about a patient's health.

What Are Some Telemetry Nurse Duties?

Duties that telemetry nurses are tasked with include:

  • Comprehend, operate, and troubleshoot telemetry devices
  • Ability to recognize normal and abnormal heart rhythms
  • Perform different diagnostic tests
  • Perform complete patient history and physical assessment of new patients
  • Design, implement and assess nursing care plans
  • Understand different medication dosages, interactions, complications, and contraindications
  • Monitor EKG output and communicate relevant information to the physician and other healthcare staff
  • Administer medications as needed
  • Carry out the discharge education process
  • Make any necessary referrals
  • Provide cardiac education to patient and loved ones
  • Recognize signs of cardiovascular and respiratory decline and know the protocol to stabilize patients
  • Assist physicians with treatments and procedures for cardiac issues

Where Do Telemetry Nurses Work?

Telemetry nurses can be found in the following workplace environments:

  • Public and private hospitals
  • Intermediate care units
  • Transitional care units
  • Step-down units
  • Outpatient care centers
  • Sleep centers
  • Surgical facilities

How to Become a Telemetry Nurse

If you're looking for a career in a nursing specialty that's fast-paced and you think working with high-risk patients would interesting and exciting, telemetry nursing may be a fit for you. In addition to having an entry-level nursing degree and an RN license, prospective telemetry nurses should have a certain amount of clinical training, know how to use electrocardiogram (EKG, ECG) machines, and should have training in advanced cardiac life support.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

To become a telemetry nurse, you will first need to enroll in an ADN or BSN program at an accredited university or college. Students with either degree type will be eligible to become a telemetry nurse, although those with BSNs will be preferred candidates. When you have successfully earned a degree and passed the NCLEX-RN exam, you will be an official RN. After gaining your RN license, you should gain a bit of clinical experience as a registered nurse in a telemetry unit. After accumulating some experience in this kind of setting, you can then go on to earn your specialty certification.

Do Telemetry Nurses Need an RN Degree?

Telemetry nurses must at least hold an active and unencumbered RN license and have some clinical experience in the field in order to obtain any of the different numbers of telemetry certifications that exist. It is suited for those who hold ADN or BSN degrees.

Step 2: Required Telemetry Nurse Certifications/Credentials

There are a few different certifications that fall under the category of ‘telemetry nursing'. The various certifications that one can attain are offered by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses and (AACN).

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) offers the following certifications:

  • The Tele-ICU Adult Acute/Critical Care Nursing Certification (CCRN-E) which is designed for RNs who remotely monitor patients in tele-ICUs.
  • The Adult Progressive Care Nursing Certification Progressive Care Critical Nurse (PCCN).
  • The Adult, Neonatal and Pediatric Acute/Critical Care Nursing Certification (CCRN). Falling under the CCRN certification are 2 sub-specialty certifications for telemetry nurses who already are certified with an accredited nursing specialty.
  • (CCRN-CMC) -for RNs who provide direct nursing care to critically or acutely ill cardiac patients
  • (CCRN-CSC) - for RNs who provide direct patient post-op care to cardiac surgery patients

To gain any one of these certifications you will roughly need:

  • An active and unencumbered RN license
  • 1,750 hours of direct clinical experience in that particular setting in the previous two years
  • 875 of those hours should have been completed in the previous year before applying for certification

It's possible that the eligibility requirements each certification may change from year to year, so make sure to carefully examine each certification's requirements before you apply.

Telemetry Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment

As of today, telemetry nursing is one of the most in-demand nursing specialties. As telemetry technology continues to progress and as the populous baby boomer generation continues to age, the field of telemetry nursing will only continue to expand.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Attentiveness, basic cardiac rhythm monitoring techniques, knowledge of basic life support techniques, strong communication abilities, ability to recognize signs and symptoms of cardiopulmonary and respiratory emergencies, ability to apply standard intervention techniques to stabilize patients who are experiencing cardiopulmonary or respiratory failure
  • Job Outlook - The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that job openings for registered nurses will grow by 16% from 2014 to 2024. The telemetry nursing employment sector is likely to see job growth at a similar rate.

What Is the Average Salary of a Telemetry Nurse?

According to PayScale, the average yearly salary for a telemetry nurse is approximately $60,629. Annual salaries for telemetry nurses will depend on factors like educational level, credentials and certifications, city and state of employment, years of experience, and the employing organizations. Fully employed telemetry nurses are likely to receive benefit packages which generally include things like medical, dental, vision, and more. Telemetry nurses can also expect some annual paid time off as well.

How Much Do Telemetry Nurses Make per Year?

  • $52,000 – $103,000 annually

How Much Do Telemetry Nurses Make per Hour?

  • $30.61 average hourly wage

Telemetry Nurse Resources