Neither the state’s Department of Safety and Professional Services nor the Department of Health Services have created EKG technician training and certification requirements in the state of Wisconsin. Most healthcare facilities in the state depend on the services of unlicensed medical personnel to help deliver care. These individuals are often categorized as unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP) who work under the supervision of a nurse. Nurses select which tasks to delegate and retain accountability for the health outcomes that result.
The high level of litigation that currently plagues the healthcare system in the United States has led many employers to establish detailed policies and procedures that must be followed when providing care to patients. Guidelines for how an unlicensed medical assistant is to carry out tasks are meant to protect the health and safety of patients as well as the professional interests of the institution. The Wisconsin Board of Nursing has outlined the process of delegation in the state’s legislative code. Those who intend to pursue the EKG technician career path are well-advised to review the rules and regulations that may affect them so that they are aware of the practice environment in which they will be working.
Wisconsin Statutes define a nurse aide as a person, regardless of title, who provides routine client services under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. Since there is no law that addresses a technician who is working in the cardiac care unit, some employers may choose to categorize these individuals as a nurse aide. Despite the title that the employer gives the technician, it is important to appreciate that a nurse must evaluate the needs of the patient, determine the capacity of the technician to perform certain tasks, offer instruction for the performance of the tasks, and provide supervision and feedback to the technician. Within the cardiovascular department, the routine tasks that the technicians perform include things like electrocardiogram administration, telemetry, Holter monitoring, vital sign collection, medical history documentation, procedure preparation, and a variety of administrative tasks.
Education and Training Requirements
Because the EKG technician is largely unregulated, it is possible to enter the field with little more than a high school diploma or GED. The low entry requirements for becoming an unlicensed medical assistant is very appealing to those who do not want to invest a lot of time, effort, or money in a long college degree program. While some individuals are able to secure employment with little or no previous patient care experience, enhanced state and federal initiatives for quality of care have led many employers to begin offering hiring preference to applicants who have a minimum of a 2-year allied health degree or a few years of clinical experience in a general area of practice.
For those who are new to healthcare and who are finding it difficult to compete with a more qualified applicant, there are a couple options that can serve to strengthen one’s resume and improve the odds of landing a job. A few years of employment as a general assistant or aide can provide several opportunities to learn the basics of patient care. This generalized period of employment is an excellent period to begin networking with individuals who have worked in the technician profession for awhile and who can offer advice for career advancement.
State Contact Information
Phone: (608) 266-1865
Alternate: (608) 261-8328
1 W. Wilson St. Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-2112
Toll-Free: (877) 617-1565
1400 E. Washington Ave., Rm. 112 Madison, WI 53703