As a telemetry nurse, you’ll care for patients who need constant monitoring for cardiac, respiratory, gastrointestinal, or renal issues. Telemetry nursing is an exciting field for travel nurses, especially newer graduates, as this fast-paced, busy atmosphere allows for continual learning and valuable experience.
Successful telemetry nurses are astute, confident, and compassionate. They act quickly in emergencies, balance multiple responsibilities, advocate for their patients, and communicate effectively with providers. The ideal telemetry nurse has strong assessment skills and is prepared to jump into action should a patient’s condition decline.
During a typical day, a telemetry nurse will receive patients who have been recently stabilized and stepped down from intensive care to progressive care. The patients have often just had surgery, or they might have heart problems, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, renal failure, COPD, advanced cancer, or other conditions which require monitoring. A telemetry nurse specializing in cardiac care may be responsible for patients who have had a heart attack, heart transplant, stent, atrial fibrillation, heart valve disease, or coronary artery disease.
A telemetry nurse will admit transfers out of the ICU or CCU, administer medications and IV fluids, perform diagnostic testing, monitor vital signs, interpret telemetry data, treat patients in case of emergency, and educate patients and families. Monitoring includes using telemetry devices that measure heart rhythm, blood pressure, oxygen levels, respiration, electrolytes, etc.
The telemetry nurse must be skilled at basic and advanced life support and must know cardiac rhythms. Additionally, the telemetry nurse must be able to recognize cardiac and respiratory distress and to begin interventions immediately for patients.
To become a telemetry nurse, you must graduate with either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in nursing from an accredited nursing school. You will then need to become licensed as a registered nurse (RN). Additionally, as a telemetry nurse, you’ll need certification in basic life support (BLS) and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). Many healthcare facilities prefer to hire nurses who have a progressive care nursing certification (PCCN). There are also sub-specializations for the telemetry nurse that include med-surg, acute, critical, and cardiac care.
As a telemetry nurse, you can work in a hospital, outpatient facility, clinic, or in-home care. You may be based in the step down from ICU which is referred to as intermediate care, direct observation, transitional care, step-down, or telemetry unit. Depending on location, credentials, and specialization, the telemetry nurse salary ranges from $49,500 to $95,500 per year (PayScale). Hourly compensation for telemetry nurses who take on travel assignments is based on this salary range.
Telemetry nurses are in demand due to shortages of ICU beds and the need for healthcare facilities to use progressive care. This nursing specialty is also evolving to include a broader range of patients due to advances in technology. Connect with one of our travel nursing recruiters at Cross Country TravCorps to join this rapidly growing field and find your ideal telemetry nurse job today.
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