The EKG technician is a specialized allied health provider who performs many different responsibilities associated with the delivery of cardiac care to patients who suffer from a variety of heart diseases. In general, the role of the technician is to serve in a supportive capacity to registered nurses and licensed physicians as they carry out tasks that require advanced medical knowledge, judgment, and skill. Those who work as a technician in the cardiovascular department may be classified using titles such as cardiac technician, cardiovascular technologist, EKG technician, and many others. Although technicians in many departments can be trained to perform basic electrocardiograms, a specialist technician in cardiac care is qualified to administer several other heart studies and assist with many associated activities. Those considering this profession should become familiar with general work requirements included in the EKG technician job description in order to become a more informed job applicant.
Tasks most commonly performed by technicians working in the cardiac care unit include the delivery of cardiac studies such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, Holter monitoring, and stress tests. These procedures are performed often in order to monitor and evaluate the electrical activity of the heart. A successful technician will need to know how to make sure the equipment is operating properly and how to set the patient up for the study. During the exam, the technician will be required to monitor the vital signs, document the results in the medical record, and alert a nurse or physician to any abnormalities. A patient who is demonstrating signs of anxiety associated with the procedure will need to be reassured about the safety and efficacy of the exam as well as the steps involved in its administration. Technicians typically answer any questions that the patient might have prior to beginning the exam.
Although the majority of a technicians work day will consist of the administration of routine studies, an individual who is employed in this profession may also be required to perform several other activities that may include helping with invasive procedures such as stint placement; monitoring blood pressure and volume fluctuations during procedures; administering contrast fluid; operating and transporting equipment; interviewing patients; collecting medical histories; ensuring a sterile field during operations; organizing and directing office meetings; and much more. Those who have accepted administrative tasks may be required to train new employees, conduct performance reviews, contribute to organizational strategy meetings, implement quality improvement initiatives, and other managerial activities. Although these types of responsibilities may come with a pay raise, they are not suitable for everyone and should be considered carefully when deciding whether or not to take on an administrative role.
The tasks outlined above are not a complete list of activities that could be included in the EKG technician job description and it is very important for individuals to carefully review the responsibilities that they will be assigned prior to accepting a position and signing a long-term employment contract. Although there are many similarities between the employment requirements created by different employers in the industry, significant variations can exist based on the type of patient population being managed and the unique needs of the facility. Most administrators will review the responsibilities associated with an open position in great detail during the interview and orientation process. Those who are passionate about providing high quality care and who have a solid work ethic will discover that this specialty career option is one of the most rewarding employment opportunities available to allied health personnel.
Aspiring technicians can learn more about the education, training, and certification expectations in their state by visiting www.ekgtechniciansalary.org where they will find facts about state regulations along with helpful resources that can provide advice and support during the job search process. Making connections within the industry is an important step in learning about the profession and can help alleviate many of the hurdles that make it difficult to secure employment. In addition, active involvement in specialty organizations is an essential component of becoming a successful member of the medical team and can help facilitate the relationships one needs to advance in the field.