Monitor Tech Job Description
Monitor techs, also referred to as cardiac monitor technicians or EKG technicians, observe the heart beats and electrocardiograms (EKG) of patients in intensive care units, or ICUs. They typically work in hospitals and sit at computers outside of patients’ rooms to perform their job.
Monitor techs usually work full-time hours. Since patients’ heart monitors always need to be watched, these technicians may work at any time in the day or night, depending on their assigned shift. Workers in this position report directly to a lead nurse or doctor.
Monitor Tech Duties and Responsibilities
While a monitor tech’s specific job functionality may differ depending on their experience and the hospital where they work, they typically perform the same core tasks throughout their shifts:
Observe and Interpret Heart Monitors
The bulk of a monitor tech’s work day is observing and interpreting the heart monitors of patients in the ICU. They also interpret heart readings from the monitors and look for any significant changes.
Monitor techs occasionally perform EKGs on patients in the ICU. This involves attaching electrodes to the patient’s body and using a machine to record the electrical impulses from the patient’s heart.
If a monitor tech notices any changes in the patient’s heart readings or EKGs, they report them immediately to a nurse or doctor.
Update Patient Records
After taking new readings from the patient’s heart monitors, the monitor tech is responsible for updating that patient’s records. This may take place either on paper records or in the medical software that the hospital uses.
Monitor techs are responsible for cleaning their equipment, including EKG machines and heart monitors. They are also responsible for recognizing when their equipment needs professional maintenance.
Monitor Tech Skills and Qualifications
Monitor techs are observant and analytical. They’re able to recognize and differentiate irregular patterns as they relate to the standard rhythm of a patient’s heartbeat. Since most hospitals provide on-the-job training, employers may or may not require previous experience but do require at least a high school diploma. Based on job postings we analyzed, employers desire monitor techs who exhibit the following skills:
- Multi-Tasking – Charged with monitoring up to 30 patients during a single shift, these technicians are skilled multi-taskers
- Analytical Skills – Monitor techs are excellent analysts and can recognize abnormalities in patient heart readings
- Critical Thinking Skills – Monitor techs are attentive and quick on their feet, and they react without hesitation to urgent situations
- Communication Skills – Written and verbal communication skills are necessary to be successful as a monitor tech, as people in this position document patients’ statuses and relay this information to doctors and lead nurses
- Technical Skills – This position requires that monitor techs are savvy with electronic hospital equipment as well as computer software
Tools of the Trade
As workers within a hospital environment, monitor techs are adept at using:
- Hospital Equipment – (EKG machines and heart monitors)
- Electronic Medical Records Software – (CareCloud, NextGen Healthcare, NueMD)
- Personal Protection Equipment – (gloves, masks, and gowns)
Monitor Tech Education and Training
To become a monitor tech, which is an entry-level position, candidates need at least a high school diploma. Employers tend to look for candidates who have an associate degree in a related field as well as medical-specific certifications, such as EKG or CPR certifications.
Once hired, monitor techs typically receive on-the-job training to learn how to use the hospital’s equipment and medical records software.
Monitor Tech Salary and Outlook
Monitor techs earn a median annual salary of $35,447, according to PayScale. Those with little to no experience may earn as low as $24,124 per year, while those with a lot of experience and additional education or certification may earn as much as $48,750 per year. Monitor techs typically receive standard health, dental, and vision insurance, along with vacation and sick time.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports a 20 percent growth rate for monitor techs, categorized as “Cardiovascular Technicians,” over the next 10 years. This above average growth rate can be attributed to the improvement of medical procedures that prolong the life of patients in the ICU.
The resources listed below can help you learn more about becoming a monitor tech and finding success in the healthcare field:
“21 Reasons Why You Should Be a Cardiac Monitor Technician” – This article, offered by the American Institute of Medical Sciences and Education (AIMS Education), outlines 21 reasons why it’s advantageous to pursue a career as a monitor tech. Reasons include hard and soft skills perspective technicians should possess as well as the financial benefit to getting into this rapidly increasing field. AIMS Education is an accredited Allied Health Institute and provides career training programs for healthcare professionals.
Healthcare Industry Professionals Group – With over 86,000 members, this is a LinkedIn group made specifically for bringing healthcare professionals together. Here you can learn from and ask questions of healthcare executives and leaders. The general topic of discussion here focuses on the ever-evolving technology in the healthcare world.
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right – Author Atul Gawande posits that even though healthcare has undergone huge technological advances, healthcare professionals are still experiencing failures due to lack of organization skills. this book explains how to effectively use checklists in a professional setting to create more organization and simplicity. It’s an Amazon Bestseller in the Hospital Administration category and comes highly reviewed by both professionals and casual readers. The World Health Organization even created a simple surgical checklist based on the principles outlined in this book. The checklist has since been adopted by over 20 countries as a standard for care.
The Sweet Spot: How to Accomplish More by Doing Less – Monitor techs may find themselves overwhelmed with all the tasks on their plates during busy times in the ICU. This book aims to alleviate that overwhelming feeling by outlining ways you can become more efficient in your day-to-day duties. This best-selling book was written by an author with a PhD is sociology and has been positively reviewed by professionals and causal readers alike.
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