Telemetry technicians may have multiple job functions. They may perform cardiac testing on patients, including cardiac stress tests and electrocardiograms, to discover cardiac health issues. They must prepare patients for exams and provide test results to both patients and health care providers. They must monitor and record heart rhythms for one or more patients in a hospital unit, identifying/documenting potential abnormal rhythms and reporting them to the appropriate staff. Good communication skills are key for these interactions.
Organizational skills are required to follow orders from doctors, obtain patient medical histories, and record data and results in patient files. A telemetry technician must be detail-oriented, able to recognize and respond quickly to alarms (and false alarms), and troubleshoot equipment malfunctions as needed.
A high school diploma or GED is required for employment as a telemetry technician, and those in this position will receive in-depth, on-the-job training. However, most also complete an Associate's or Bachelor's degree in Radiological Technology, Nursing, or a related health-science field. A strong background in anatomy, physiology, and medical terminology is needed. Basic and advanced life support courses are recommended, as well as cardiac strip monitoring and interpretation coursework and certification.
Telemetry technicians can also obtain national certification.
These technicians work in indoor, climate-controlled environments, such as hospitals and physician offices. Lifting is minimal and travel is not a requirement. Potential exists for exposure to communicable diseases. They may also experience eye strain, as they will watch multiple computer telemetry monitors for eight- to twelve-hour shifts.
Telemetry Technician Tasks
Interpret cardiac rhythms.
Oversee cardiac monitoring, including applying electrocardiography leads.
Prepare, maintain, and interpret telemetry records and system.
Explain procedure and provide instructions to patient.