What is an EKG Technician

Those who have made the decision to provide patient care as the unlicensed member of the medical team and who have asked themselves what is an EKG technician are well-advised to learn more about the cardiovascular specialty before deciding on a specific career path. While several healthcare fields are benefiting from a high level of growth, cardiac care departments across the US are managing an above average influx of patients because of the steady rise in the prevalence of chronic conditions like that of diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Concerning Health Statistics

Cardiovascular disease has become one of the top contributors to morbidity and mortality in the United States with over 700,000 people dying each year from its effects. According to the American Heart and Stroke Association, cardiac disease is the leading cause of death around the World and currently accounts for over $300 billion in health expenditures and lost productivity. While death rates in the US attributable to heart disease have declined in recent years, the number of people at risk has continued to climb and has placed pressure on the healthcare system to maintain access to care in the midst of growing demand.

The Growing Dependence on Allied Health Personnel

One strategy that employers have been using to help ensure high quality care is to employ unlicensed assistants who are capable of conducting many routine activities associated with the comprehensive diagnosis and the treatment of patients. An informed understanding of the roles that an assistant has in the cardiac unit might help answer the question what is an EKG technician and could lead some people to pursue this field as their chosen employment opportunity. Even though the unlicensed providers are not able to engage in the advanced practices of registered nurses and physicians, their contribution is essential to the provision of care process and is critical to sustaining an efficient and effective operation.

Common Work Responsibilities

Because most states do not license technicians working in cardiac care, they are not able to perform tasks that require the knowledge, judgment, and skills of the licensed provider. In most establishments, the nursing staff is responsible for selecting activities that can safely be delegated to an assistant. Within the cardiovascular department, these typically include things such as electrocardiogram administration, medical record documentation, operating computerized equipment, retrieving and editing reports, using billing software to reconcile charges and credits, processing reports, assisting with procedures, filing charts, hooking up and disconnecting the monitors, ensuring safety and infection control, quality improvement implementation, demonstrating professionalism and a commitment to customer care, and much more.

Education and Training Requirements

A review of common job responsibilities within the sector is an excellent way of answering the question what is an EKG technician, but there are several other components of the specialty that need to be taken into consideration before choosing to pursue this career path. One of the attributes that appeals to several people is the fact that employees are generally not required to comply with licensing law and can find work with only a high school diploma or GED. While a college degree might make it easier to secure employment, it is usually not required.

Many medical facilities in the US have created in-house orientation and training programs that are specifically designed to give new employees the knowledge and skills they need to better understand what is an EKG technician. Although some administrators have chosen to outsource the educational process to several independent institutions in the community, it is important to contact them to learn about their preferred credentialing process before enrolling in coursework. This approach will ensure that both time and money is not wasted in the pursuit of career advancement. An organization that has chosen to outsource their training will typically provide a list of approved programs and courses.

Topics Often Included in the Curriculum

Most educational programs are designed to incorporate core topics into the curriculum that prepares new technicians to perform daily responsibilities and to pass a certification exam that is tailored to the industry. Although many states have no laws requiring certification, several employers have found that patients prefer to receive care from the individuals who have demonstrated that they are competent and have met common standards within the specialty. Core topics typically include things like human anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, CPR and first aid, electrocardiograms, electronic records, customer care, and more. Because cardiac evaluations tend to use a lot of technology, individuals may need to learn how to do phonocardiograms, echocardiograms, stress tests, hemodynamic monitors, thermodilution cardiac output, pacemaker analyzers, angiojets, Grollmann catheters, image storage systems, vascular filters, and others.

Other Considerations to Understand What is an EKG Technician

In order to answer the question what is an EKG technician, it is very important to think about the role that an individual has within an organization and the activities that they will be assigned. Some people who enter the profession end up spending the majority of the day administering a small set of tests while others are tasked with a diverse array of activities. Those who have worked in the field for a number of years and who have demonstrated an ability to lead others may be asked to take responsibility for several administrative tasks such as training new employees, helping resolve customer conflicts, implementing quality improvement initiatives, providing performance reviews, contributing to business strategy meetings, and much more.

A career in the cardiac care specialty is one of the most rewarding employment opportunities available in the healthcare sector. Aside from acquiring some solid technical skills, those who choose to pursue work in the profession need to be good at interpersonal communication, be compassionate, have a passion for high quality care, demonstrate a genuine empathy towards the patient, be respectful toward others, show competence and collaboration, pay attention to detail, utilize critical thinking, and be willing to receive instruction from supervisors.