Government rules and regulations affecting the EKG technician training and certification requirements in Montana have not yet been established. The state agency responsible for professional licensing has not yet identified the EKG technician as a provider who must be licensed or certified in order to provide direct patient care. For this reason, employers have the freedom to develop their own education, training, and certification standards. In most facilities, the technician will be supervised by a nurse who is responsible for delegating tasks.
Unlicensed medical personnel are not allowed to perform tasks that require professional knowledge, judgement, or skill in most states. The Montana Board of Nursing has adopted definitive rules and regulations that outline how tasks are to be delegated to technicians and which tasks cannot be delegated. According to Rule 24.159.1604, tasks may be given to an unlicensed person in any setting when a nurse-patient relationship exists. Routine tasks that may be delegated do include noninvasive and non-sterile treatments; the collecting, reporting, and documentation of data; ambulation, turning, and positioning; personal hygiene and elimination; oral feeding, cutting food, and the placement of food trays; socialization activities; activities of daily living; and assisting with self-administration of medications.
Within the cardiac care unit, the chief nurse is obligated to carry out very specific responsibilities associated with the management of unlicensed personnel. After a technician has been hired, the nurse will usually orient the individual to the facility; ensure that the technician’s skills have been observed, evaluated, and documented; provide a written job description; and confirm that all education and certification requirements have been completed. Accountability for the decision to delegate, tasks delegated, competency verification, and supervision remains with the nurse at all times. Prior to delegating a task to an unlicensed person, the nurse must…
- confirm that delegation will not jeopardize the patient’s welfare
- ensure that the task, patient, and delegatee are correct
- confirm that a chief nursing officer has been designated
- personally assess the patient’s care needs
- verify personnel’s competency to perform the task
- provide instruction as is necessary
- provide supervision
- inform the patient of the decision to delegate
- confirm that the task is within the nurse’s scope of practice
All tasks that are delegated must be within the nurse’s scope of practice, area of responsibility, and competency. In addition, the task cannot require complex observations, critical decision-making, nursing judgment, repeated nursing assessments, or technical skill. The task must be one that is frequently performed and has reasonably predictable outcomes. Additional information about standards for delegation and assignment can be found here.
Education and Training Requirements
The fact that the state of Montana does not have EKG technician training and certification requirements means that employers typically will adopt their own set of standards for the individuals they hire. Since hiring expectations are not universal among all institutions, it is very important for individuals who want to enter this profession to contact local employers in their area to learn more about becoming a competitive applicant for job openings. While it is possible to enter the profession without prior experience in a more generalized patient care environment, applicants who do not have an allied health degree often discover that employers give preference to those who have a minimum of 2 years experience in a closely related allied health field. Individuals who have an allied health degree can often compete with those who do not have formal education, but who have many years of experience.
There are a few strategies for individuals to strengthen a resume without spending several years in college. There are a number of less specialized areas of medical practice that have fewer entry requirements and offer numerous opportunities to acquire the basic skills needed to become successful in any area of medicine. A few of the most popular options include that of the medical assistant, nursing aide, and the dialysis technician. One might take advantage of volunteer, job-shadowing, and work-study opportunities in the cardiac care unit as well.
State Contact Information
Phone: (406) 444-3934
Alternate: (406) 444-1788
Email: Contact Form
1400 Broadway St. Helena, MT 59601
Phone: (406) 841-2202
Fax: (406) 841-2305
301 S. Park, 4th Floor, PO Box 200513 Helena, MT 59620