“Real Life” of an EKG Technician

Ah, the heartbeat. We attach such significance to this rhythmic, pulsating sound: emotions, health, quality of life. Yet, specific knowledge and many involved minds are required to be able to detect, read and record that significant beating and understand what is being said.

An EKG technician is in charge of one of the preliminary steps of this process of understanding a beating heart. They are trained to use an EKG, or an electrocardiogram, to examine and record the electrical impulses that cause a heart to beat. This information then gives health care specialists and physicians the ability to identify any irregularities in heartbeat patterns and thus, detect heart-related issues.

It takes proper training though, to become an EKG technician skilled at setting up and reading EKG machines. There are professional, customer service skills to learn as EKG technicians work closely with their patients. While the use of an EKG is noninvasive and painless, it can still make patients feel uneasy. Therefore, is important to know how to help your patients feel relaxed and comfortable. EKG Technicians also work closely with physicians, especially if an irregular heartbeat or abnormality is detected. So, it is also beneficial to learn relevant communication skills.

Yet, what does a day in the life of an EKG technician look like?

As an EKG Technician, you will be performing electrocardiogram tests with individual patients in a separate room with an EKG machine. The use of this machine requires that a technician attach 10 electrodes to a patient’s body: six across the chest, one on each of the forearms just above the wrists, and one near each of the feet (Allyson Barys does an excellent job in this video demonstrating the placement of EKG electrodes). It can take up to five minutes for the EKG to test the patient. Meanwhile, it is a part of a technician’s duties to ensure that all electrodes are working and attached throughout the test, as well as ensuring all parts of the equipment are functioning. As soon as the test is finished, a copy of the results will be printed to be shared with the doctor or cardiologist for analysis, or if any abnormalities were detected. Then, a copy of the test results must be filed in with the patient’s medical history. Finally, the room must be cleaned and prepared for the next patient (check out this video for a quick, 1-minute recap of an EKG Technicians job duties, complete with a heart-revving soundtrack).

While these tasks seem straightforward, they require much skill and accuracy. Furthermore, it can be extremely fast-paced depending on the environment in which you work; in some hospitals you may have back-to-back patients and test results that must be shared as soon as possible. Despite these challenges, skill, accuracy, and strong communication, will remain paramount.

At Lamson Institute in San Antonio, Texas, we not only train you for the duties of an EKG Technician as described above, but we’ve also designed a program that will prepare you for entry-level employment as a Lab Assistant or Phlebotomist. This only increases your job opportunities in “real life.”
Interested in Lamson’s Lab Assistant, EKG Technician/Phlebotomist Program and jumpstarting your employment as an EKG Technician? Give us a call here, or join us on Facebook today!