Become an EKG Technician

Are you wondering what exactly an EKG technician does, what the job description is? Well, an electrocardiograph technician or EKG technician conducts electrocardiograph test on patients to acquire data that assists the physician or a cardiologist to diagnose cardiac or perivascular diseases. Carry On America offers you a series of posts about this interesting field and show you how to become an EKG Technician.

In addition to operating the EKG machine, the job description of an EKG technician will also include scheduling appointments, reviewing the cardiologist’s interpretation of patient files, and monitoring the heart rate of the patient. The technician is also responsible for the maintenance and care of the EKG machine, such as refilling the paper supply and ink in the machine and making a report of any mechanical malfunction.

How Is An EKG Test Done?
An EKG test is a noninvasive procedure that detects any irregular heartbeat and it is often used to diagnose any ailment prior to performing a surgical procedure. The EKG technician is the one who performs the EKG test on the patient.

The testing procedure involves relaxing the patient before attaching 3 to 12 electrodes to the patient arms, chest, and legs. The EKG technician operates the EKG machines that will be detecting and recording electronic impulses transmitted by the patient’s heart during, and in between the heartbeats. If you live in Arizona and are interested in a nursing job, check out this post.

Electrocardiographs are an essential diagnostic tool required to identify a range of heart problems including angina, coronary heart disease, and atherosclerosis. The technician sets the equipment, records the data or wave tracings on paper, prints out the electrocardiograph and delivers the test result to the cardiologist for interpretation.

What Specialized Procedures Are Performed By EKG Technicians?
Another part of the EKG technician job description involves specialized procedures. EKG technicians with advanced training and job experience can learn specialized procedures such as Holter monitoring and stress testing.

In the process of Holter monitoring, the technician monitors the heart for a 24-hour period. This is done by attaching electrodes from a belt-attached portable EKG heart monitor, or a Holter monitor, to the chest of the patient.

Stress testing can also be a part of the EKG technician job description. In stress testing, the EKG technician hooks up the patient to an EKG monitor for a baseline reading and then monitors the patients’ pulse and heart rate while the patient performs a strenuous exercise (usually on a treadmill). The technician speeds up and slows down the treadmill to record EKG readings at multiple exertion levels.

An EKG technicians job description can also have them specializing in the fields of invasive cardiology, noninvasive echocardiography, and cardiovascular technology. Cardiac sonographers or echocardiographers are technicians who create images using ultrasound to examine heart chambers, valves, and vessels. The specialized cardiovascular technician monitors the blood pressure and heart rate with EKG equipment through surgical procedures like cardiac catheterization, insertion of pacemakers, stents, and during open-heart surgery.

Where do EKG technicians work?
EKG technicians can benefit from on-the-job training by an EKG supervisor or a certified cardiologist. However, most places will require a degree or some sort of specialized training.

A majority of EKG technicians find work in hospitals, but you will also be able to find work at physicians offices, clinics, and outpatient centers. A big part of your job description will require you to interact with the patients to reassure them and perform a test to diagnose and treat.

As an electrocardiograph technician, you will find that you are an important part of a patient-care team in emergency units or trauma-care centers of hospitals. A skilled technician will also be able to find employment in medical and diagnostic laboratories. The job pays pretty well, so if you have a mortgage, think about refinancing it. You may get in a win-win situation. Your income goes up and your monthly payments go down.

The EKG technician job description demands reliability, mechanical aptitude, ability to work as a team, the understanding of medical terminology, and strong communication skills. In the coming weeks, I’ll write some more posts to get you informed about what it takes to become an EKG teshnician.