Observing and interpreting a patient’s heart status is the job of the Monitor Technician, sometimes also called a Cardiac Monitor Tech or Electrocardiograph (EKG) Tech. Long stretches of time studying EKG data can be a big part of this job. Usually the Monitor Technician works in the Intensive Care Unit of a hospital and sits at several computer consoles monitoring the EKG waveforms of the patient’s heartbeat. They will immediately inform a nurse or physician if there is any disruption in the heartbeat, or any other cardiac changes.
The Monitor Technician may perform EKG’s by attaching the electrodes to the patient’s body and using a machine that traces electrical impulses transmitted by the heart and prints out a reading. The job can also include maintaining and cleaning the EKG equipment while following infectious control procedures by wearing gloves, masks and gowns when working with highly contagious patients. Monitor Techs normally will sit at a computer station outside the patient’s room. Monitoring can go on for at least an hour and the Tech must monitor the heart rhythms of the patient and record the findings in the medical records. The Monitor Tech may be monitoring several patients at the same time remotely.
Some facilities will hire individuals with a high school diploma and offer on the job training. Others may require the completion of an EKG certification program through a technical school. Coursework will normally include medical terminology, cardiac anatomy, EKG analysis, patient care and medical law. Other requirements may include completing a one-day cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) course or basic life support course.