Find Your Road Map: Destination Telemetry Nursing

Sometimes changing nursing specialties can be difficult because where you want to is so different from your current experience. However, it doesn’t always require a long route with a lot of stops along the way. Some specialties are closely related, and transitioning between them is as easy as deciding to get off at the next exit. Regardless of the distance, it takes commitment, courage, and patience. And who knows, maybe your current destination will send you on another road trip and allow you to experience nursing in a way you never thought possible.


Telemetry nurses care for patients that require continuous cardiac monitoring but are stable and meet med surg criteria. This role is a great fit for nurses who like taking care of cardiac patients but don’t want to work in a PCU or ICU.

Patient Type:

  •  Telemetry patients have conditions that require continuous cardiac monitoring, including heart disease or heart failure.
  •  Certain electrolyte imbalances require telemetry monitoring because they can lead to dangerous heart rhythms. Contributing disease process include, but are not limited to, dehydration, kidney failure, DKA, HHS, liver failure, and detoxing from alcohol.
  •  Certain electrolyte replacements and cardiac medications when given intravenously require telemetry monitoring because of the powerful effect they can have on a patient’s heart rhythm.
  •  They may also be recovering from a cardiac procedure, like stent placement or CABG surgery.

Unit Pace:

  •  This unit is a nice balance between an ICU and med surg. The patients are stable but may have more complicated diagnoses than those on a med surg floor.

Experience Required:

  •  Nurses who have experience reading and interpreting EKGs have an edge in this unit, but most telemetry floors provide this training if needed.


  •  ACLS certification is not always required, but definitely preferred. Most units will have nurses study for and at least pass a  telemetry test in order to establish competency in basic heart rhythm assessment.
  •  Although nurses who graduated from a diploma program do get hired into telemetry units, some hospitals prefer BSNs.
  •  There are multiple certifications available for telemetry nurses to pursue after working in the specialty for a time.

Final Destination vs. Pit Stop

  •  This can be a final destination for a med surg nurse who wants to care for more complicated patients, but it’s also a nice place to learn advanced skills before moving on to an ICU.

How to Make Telemetry Your Next Destination?

To reach the next step in your nursing career, you need a map to get you from where you are now to the specialty you aim to be. Knowing what the specialty is and the experience you need for a new specialty is only 2 of 6 steps to make that transition a reality.

For the other 4 steps needed to change nursing specialties:

Find Your Road Map: 6 Essential Steps to Change Nursing Specialty