There are no government organizations that have created EKG technician training and/or certification requirements in South Carolina. While the state has chosen not to regulate the profession, several employers have their own expectations that must be met. In addition, a technician is often classified as an unlicensed assistive person (UAP) who is subject to rules and regulations governing the delegation of all patient care activities to unlicensed personnel. Information about applicant requirements can be acquired by calling local employers.
The practice of caring for the medical needs of patients is one that is associated with high levels of liability in cases that involve negligence on the part of any member of the medical team. Because an EKG technician is not licensed in South Carolina, most facilities require them to work under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed physician. These advanced practitioners determine which tasks can safely be delegated to unlicensed personnel and they retain all of the accountability for the health outcomes that result from delegation. In order to ensure the health and safety of patients and protect advanced personnel, department administrators develop procedures and protocols that must be closely followed when assigning tasks to the technician. Within the cardiovascular unit, these tasks often include the administration of electrocardiograms, Holter monitoring, telemetry, procedure preparation, and a variety of other tasks that do not require professional knowledge, judgment, or skill.
The South Carolina Board of Nursing has adopted regulations that govern the delegation of patient care tasks to an unlicensed member of the healthcare team. According to Section 40-33-42, An advanced practice registered nurse, registered nurse, or licensed practical nurse is responsible for the delegation and supervision of nursing tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel. Tasks that may be assigned to unlicensed assistive personnel must be stated in the employers’ policies, and the employer shall verify the training of this personnel and their competencies to perform the tasks. Tasks which may be delegated and performed under supervision may include…
- meeting patients’ needs for personal hygiene
- meeting patients’ needs relating to nutrition
- meeting patients’ needs relating to ambulation
- meeting patients’ needs relating to elimination
- taking vital signs
- maintaining asepsis
- observing, recording, and reporting any of the tasks enumerated in the subsection
Education and Training Requirements
Similar to other unlicensed assistant positions, the EKG technician may be able to enter the profession with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED. Although it used to be fairly common for technicians to find employment in this field without a college degree or prior healthcare experience, new quality of care standards adopted by state and federal organizations have led many employers to start providing preference in the hiring process to applicants who have a minimum of a two-year college degree in an allied health field and prior patient care experience in one of the more generalized areas of practice.
Several community colleges and universities now offer certificate programs for individuals who are new to healthcare and who are looking to strengthen their credentials before applying to an open position. Some employers expect an applicant to complete a program while others prefer to train their technicians on-site. Those who are serious about this profession are well-advised to contact employers before enrolling in a certificate program. Those seeking patient care experience should consider working as an aide or medical assistant for a few years.
State Contact Information
Phone: (803) 898-3432
Toll-Free: (803) 545-4301
2600 Bull St. Columbia, SC 29201
Phone: (803) 896-4550
Alternate: (803) 896-4300
Synergy Business Park, Kingstree Bldg., 110 Centerview Dr. Columbia, SC 29210