The Department of Health does not establish or enforce formal EKG technician training and certification requirements in the state of South Dakota. While the profession is not licensed, there are regulations that affect the delegation of patient care activities to the technician. In addition, many employers have adopted their own standards for competence that are used when hiring an unlicensed person. To better prepare for the application process, it is a good idea to contact area employers to learn about their unique expectations.
Healthcare facilities in the United States are heavily dependent on the services of unlicensed personnel who often work in every department that provides patient care services. These individuals perform routine tasks that do not require the professional knowledge, judgment, or skill of advanced medical professionals. Because a technician is unlicensed, it is critically important that healthcare establishments have protocols and procedures for the evaluation of each technician’s competence and for the delegation of tasks to individuals who are unlicensed. The South Dakota Legislature has state laws that affect delegation and that can be found in Chapter 20:48:04.01 (delegation of nursing tasks).
According to South Dakota law, a nurse may delegate selected nursing tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel. The delegating nurse is accountable for assessing a situation and making the final decision to delegate. The delegation of nursing tasks to unlicensed assistive personnel must comply with the following criteria…
- The task is one that a prudent nurse would find within the scope of sound judgment
- The task is one that can be properly and safely performed by unlicensed personnel
- The task does not require unlicensed personnel to exercise nursing judgment
- The nurse evaluates the client’s nursing care needs before delegating the task
- The nurse verifies that the unlicensed person is competent to perform the task
- The nurse supervises the performance of the delegated nursing task
Certain tasks including those that involve assessments that require professional judgment, intervention, referral, or follow-up; formulation of a plan for nursing care and evaluation of the client’s response to the care; sterile procedures involving a wound or anatomical site which could potentially become infected; nasogastric tube feeding; nasogastric, jejunostomy and gastrostomy tube insertion or removal; tracheostomy care and suctioning and suprapubic catheter insertion and removal; administration of medications; receiving telephone orders; and health counseling may not be delegated to unlicensed personnel. Additional details about the delegation of medication administration can be found by clicking here.
Education and Training Requirements
Since the EKG technician profession is unregulated by the state of South Dakota, employers are allowed to develop their own policies for the assessment of competence through education, training, and certification. Although few local colleges and universities offer degree programs that are specific to this career path, some do have short certificate programs that address the basic knowledge and skills required to become successful in cardiac care. Individuals are encouraged to inquire directly with employers about the benefits of such a program before enrolling. Many facilities offer their own training programs that are designed to orient technicians to their new position and teach them about the unique needs of the establishment. Some employers may provide hiring preference to individuals who have formal education while others care very little about whether or not an applicant has completed a certificate program.
In addition to a college degree, administrators might favor those who have experience with patient care in an area of generalized medical practice. Those who find it difficult to compete with experienced applicants, may think about short-term employment as a nursing aide or medical assistant. These options are popular among individuals who are trying to enter the healthcare industry with little or no education and experience. This approach offers many opportunities to master the basics of patient care and learn about a variety of specialties.
State Contact Information
Phone: (605) 773-3361
Toll-Free: (800) 738-2301
600 E. Capitol Ave. Pierre, SD 57501
Phone: (605) 362-2760
Fax: (605) 362-2768
4305 S. Louise Ave., Ste. 201 Sioux Falls, SD 57106