Breaking the Myth About Telemetry

By GeTonya Dickerson, RN Clinical Nurse Supervisor, Cardiac Telemetry, Methodist Mansfield Medical Center

I always knew I wanted to be a nurse. In 2005, I joined Methodist Health System as a patient care technician (PCT) while attending nursing school. During my last year of school I signed a contract with Methodist. It was great for me because I got paid while I was finishing my education, and I had a job for two years after graduation.

When we built a house in Mansfield, I looked at the options available at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. The available position was in telemetry, but I was afraid of learning rhythms and that made me uncomfortable caring for cardiac patients. Also, I heard nurses say that telemetry nursing was more difficult than med-surg because the patients were sicker with higher acuity levels.

I’m glad I decided not listen to the other nurses and to take a chance with telemetry. I’m thankful that Methodist Mansfield gave me the chance to become a telemetry nurse. From the start, they assured me that I wasn’t alone, and they would provide the additional training and backup resources I would need to be successful. I became certified in Advanced Cardiac Life Support and attended a dysrhythmia class. I found it reassuring to have monitor techs available in the monitoring room to provide backup around the clock. And in times of crisis, I knew I had the support of the charge nurse and other nursing staff. Teamwork is a tradition at Methodist, and it shows as evidenced by our achievement of Pathways to Excellence®, Chest Pain Center with PCI accreditation by the Society of Chest Pain Centers, and a Best Place to Work eight years in a row by the Dallas Business Journal.

What’s so ironic is that what I at first feared about the job is actually what I enjoy most. I’m proud that I work in a specialty area that requires more of me as a nurse. I have to maintain my certifications and keep up on the latest advances in cardiac telemetry. I also enjoy working with critically ill patients. Because most of these patients receive intravenous medication drips and specialized cardiac drugs, I have to monitor each drug differently. There are certain side effects that are unique to each drug and some side effects that are common to all of the drugs. So I monitor the patient and his or her telemetry for signs of potential problems.

After receiving a report from the previous shift, I conduct patient rounds, review their charts and rhythms, and gather the required medications to administer. When I review patient rhythms, I look for abnormalities or arrhythmias.

I feel that telemetry has prepared me to provide better care for patients with a variety of diagnoses. Because many of the patients entering the hospital suffer from some type of cardiac issue, being certified in telemetry helps me be more confident as a nurse for the vast majority of patients for whom I provide care.

Being a telemetry nurse is both challenging and rewarding. I absolutely love working here and in 2011, true to Methodist’s commitment to promoting from within, I was advanced to my current position as clinical nurse supervisor.

I love working at Methodist Mansfield because they believe in the culture of ALWAYS. We will ALWAYS be there for our patients and we will ALWAYS be there for each other.

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