Telemetry training teaches students to use an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG) machine to monitor the condition of a patient's heart and provide information that helps a physician make a diagnosis. It also includes advanced cardiac life support (ACLS) training, which teaches students to respond effectively when patients go into cardiac arrest. Training programs in each area usually must be completed separately, and they usually take less than a year to complete. A high school diploma or GED and basic life support training are needed to enter the program.
Telemetry Nursing Training Degree
Some telemetry training programs also cover medical systems and medical terminology in separate courses. Program content covers the application of electrodes to the skin and analysis of normal, abnormal and emergent heart rhythms. Academic topics covered in telemetry and ACLS courses are likely to include:
- Heart anatomy
- Disease progression
- Cardiac rhythms
- Cardiac pharmacology
- Airway management
- Case scenarios
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
Nurses who finish telemetry training and ACLS programs are qualified to become telemetry nurses. Hospitals are their primary employer. Figures for this specialty were not available as of May 2015, but the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) foresees 16% growth in employment of registered nurses over the 2014-2024 decade. As of May 2015, registered nurses earned a median annual salary of $67,490, per the BLS.
Continuing Education Information
Most hospitals require nurses to have American Heart Association certification in Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) before they are allowed to work as telemetry nurses. ACLS certification courses and exams are available from several heart association affiliates, such as A.C.T.N.T. Healthcare Services (www.actnt.com) or the ACLS Training Center (www.acls.net).
Telemetry nurses can also obtain a Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) certification from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). PCCN certification requires candidates to be licensed as registered nurses or advanced practice nurses and to pass a 125 question multiple-choice exam.
Overall, nurses who want to direct their careers toward telemetry can complete a training program in the field, which provides a basic overview of cardiac diagnostic practices. After that, they can get ACLS training, which prepares them for certification exams in the field so that they can start practicing.