There are no state agencies that have created the EKG technician training and certification requirements in Tennessee. The technician is categorized as an unlicensed assistive person (UAP) who is allowed to perform only those tasks that a licensed medical professional has deemed appropriate to delegate. Although the state has no formal governmental competency standards for the technician, employers often develop their own policies and procedures for the types of individuals who will be considered for open positions in the cardiac care unit.
The provision of patient care in the United States has become subject to extremely high levels of liability in cases where negligence is suspected. Healthcare establishments across the country have attempted to reduce their exposure to this type of litigation by creating in-house training programs that prepare technicians for the challenges that they will face as well as teach them the basic knowledge and skills that they will need in order to become successful. In addition, medical facilities often require that technicians work under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse or physician who assumes responsibility for the decision to delegate tasks and the health outcomes that result from such decisions.
The Rules of the Tennessee Board of Nursing require registered nurses to evaluate the stability of patients and the competency of technicians before delegating any task. Within the cardiovascular department, a technician performs tasks such as electrocardiogram administration, Holter monitoring, telemetry, vital sign collection, and health history documentation. The responsibilities are considered routine and they do not require the professional judgment or skill of an advanced medical professional. Supervising nurses are accountable for the decision to delegate and are held responsible when the delegation process has not been executed in a safe and effective manner.
Education and Training Requirements
The fact that the state of Tennessee does not regulate the EKG technician profession means that there are no formal standards for competency assessment and employment among medical facilities. While it is possible to enter the field with nothing more than a high school diploma or GED, most employers prefer to hire individuals who have completed a minimum of a 2-year allied health degree and a couple of years of employment in a generalized area of practice. A few colleges and universities have begun offer short certificate programs for those wanting to become a technician in the cardiac care unit, but completion of such a program is usually not required in order to be considered for an open position. Those who are finding it difficult to compete with more qualified applicants are encouraged to consider a 2-year allied health degree or short-term employment to help strengthen their resume.
There are several entry-level patient care positions that provide opportunities to master the basic skills required to offer quality care in any specialty. Two of the most popular options include that of the nurse aide and the medical assistant. These two options have fewer entry requirements and allow individuals to gain a lot of experience with routine care as well as some specialized activities. A couple years of work in either of these career paths also helps reaffirm one’s commitment to employment in healthcare and the cardiac care unit.
State Contact Information
Phone: (615) 532-5171
Fax: (615) 248-3601
710 James Robertson Pkwy. Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: (615) 532-5166
Toll-Free: (800) 778-4123
665 Mainstream Dr., 2nd Floor Nashville, TN 37243