When you become a telemetry nurse, you will work with acutely ill patients. A telemetry nurse's main duties are to connect and monitor machines that keep track of vital signs, such as heart rate and blood pressure. He or she also interprets the readings from these machines so that the health care team can assess the patient's condition.
This nursing specialty puts you at the forefront of advanced medicine and patient care. The work that telemetry nurses perform is a vital part of the patient spectrum of care and healing. Typically, the majority of telemetry nurses work in a hospital's Progressive Care Unit.
To become a telemetry nurse, you first need to complete a bachelor’s degree, usually the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in the United States. To fulfill the requirements for this degree, you will complete courses in math and science, including anatomy, chemistry, biology, psychology, and nutrition. Most undergraduate nursing degree programs also require clinical internships in hospitals or other health care facilities before graduation.
Upon graduation, you must take the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) to become a licensed registered nurse (RN) in the US. Some states have additional licensing requirements beyond the NCLEX exam. You must meet these too before you can practice nursing and work in that state.
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) sets the national guidelines for the path from RN to telemetry nurse. The AACN Certification Corporation administers the Progressive Care Certified Nurse (PCCN) exam that RNs take to fulfill the certification requirements for this nursing specialty. Telemetry is one of several specialties that fall under the PCCN exam.
To qualify to take the exam, you must have a valid RN license and 1,750 hours of bedside nursing experience with acute or critically ill patients within the two years preceding your application. You must have worked at least 875 hours during the year prior to your exam. RN's who have satisfied this requirement in the United States and in Canadian health care facilities qualify.
AACN also accepts certification applications from RNs who gained their work experience at foreign facilities that meet the US standard of nursing practice for this specialty. These institutions must have AACN Magnet Status or accreditation from the Joint Commission International. Telemetry nurse certification candidates register to take the exam and pay the fees through the AACN online portal. Exam review courses, study guides, example questions, and advice from currently certified nurses help candidates prepare to pass the telemetry certification exam.