There are no laws that outline EKG technician training and certification requirements in the state of Ohio. Employers are responsible for ensuring that their technicians are qualified to perform the tasks that have been assigned to them and have met widely accepted standards for competency in the cardiac care specialty. In addition, a technician may be classified as an unlicensed assistant who is subject to rules and regulations adopted by the state’s Board of Nursing and that establish guidelines for the delegation of patient care responsibilities.
Chapter 4723-13 of the Ohio Administrative Code addresses the topic of delegation of nursing tasks. According to this legislation, the term ‘delegation’ means the transfer of responsibility for the performance of a selected nursing task from a licensed nurse to an individual who does not otherwise have the authority to perform the task. An ‘unlicensed person’ means an individual, not currently licensed by the board as a registered or licensed practical nurse, or an individual who does not hold a current valid certificate to practice as a dialysis technician or administer medications as a medication aide. A registered nurse may delegate a nursing task to an unlicensed person if…
- the nursing task is within the scope of practice of the delegating nurse
- the nursing task is within the knowledge, skill, and ability of the nurse
- the nursing task is within the training, ability, and skill of the unlicensed person
- appropriate resources and support are available for the performance of the task
- adequate and appropriate supervision is available
- the task requires no judgment based on nursing knowledge and expertise
- the results of the nursing task are reasonably predictable
- the task can be safely performed according to exact, unchanging directions
- the task does not require that complex observations or critical decisions be made
- the task does not require repeated performance of nursing assessments
- the consequences of performing the nursing task improperly are not life-threatening
In healthcare, high levels of liability are often associated with proper patient care and most facilities work extremely hard to ensure that patients are receiving the kind of high quality care they deserve and have come to expect. Nurses who do decide to delegate tasks to an EKG technician must first…
- identify the client
- specify a time frame for the task
- evaluate the individual who needs nursing care
- determine the types of nursing care the individual requires
- assess the complexity and frequency of the nursing care needed
- evaluate the stability of the individual who needs nursing care
- review the evaluations performed by other licensed health care professionals
Once all of the criteria above have been met, the registered or licensed practical nurse may delegate tasks to those who are unlicensed members of the patient care team. A nurse who has decided to delegate tasks to the technician is accountable for the care that is provided and any adverse health outcomes that may result. Most facilities have their own procedures and protocols for ensuring that technicians are competent to perform routine tasks such as that of the electrocardiogram, Holter monitoring, telemetry, and procedure preparation.
Education and Training Requirements
Since most states do not regulate the EKG technician profession, it is possible to become employed with only a high school diploma or GED, in-house training, and the successful completion of a nationally recognized certification exam. Although there are no formal requirements to become an EKG technician, many employers prefer to hire individuals who have some higher education and who have worked in a patient care field before. Many technicians have at least a two-year Associate’s Degree in an allied health field and have worked in a generalized area of practice for at least 2-5 years. Department directors like to hire those who have these types of credentials because they are more aware of the unique challenges that arise in patient care and because they require less training.
Individuals who are new to patient care and who lack the credentials needed to compete for a job opening in the cardiac care unit may want to think about enrolling in a certificate program at a college or vocational school and completing a couple years of work in a general area of practice. An initial period of formal employment as a medical assistant or nursing aide is usually easier to secure and can provide many opportunities to learn the essential skills needed to provide comprehensive patient care in a variety of specialties.
State Contact Information
Phone: (614) 466-3543
Alternate: (614) 995-7466
246 N. High St. Columbus, OH 43215
Phone: (614) 466-6940
Alternate: (614) 466-6966
17 S. High St., Ste. 400 Columbus, OH 43215