Telemetry Nurses in Pop Culture

Posted October 7th, 2008 by Site Administrator in Uncategorized (No Comments »)

As much as we hate to admit it, the majority of information we receive about professional careers is trickled down from our knowledge relating to a TV show or movie about the profession.  Everyone thinks they can be a lawyer or detective based on shows like Law and Order while every person is also convinced they can make it through medical school after watching Grey’s Anatomy.  However, these shows are meant to appeal to a wide array of viewers and therefore usually does not paint an accurate picture as to what the situation would look like in real life.  Telemetry nurses are no different in their pop culture representation.

On Grey’s Anatomy, we typically view the nurse’s station as the point in the hospital where all the surgeons flock to as soon as they get to the hospital.  We further notice that there are usually nurses sitting behind computer screens, monitoring patient’s progress.  These are the telemetry nurses of the show, although they are never referred to as such because audience members do not want to be taught the basics of a hospital layout; they simply want to be entertained by the story line.  Additionally, the devices that monitor every patient’s heart and breathing rates are interpreted by telemetry nurses.  In the show, this task is mostly given to the surgeons, although this is typically not routine in everyday hospital life.

One of the major pitfalls in depending on a TV show for background knowledge on a subject is that you miss out on the less romanticized qualities of the career.  In Grey’s Anatomy specifically, nurses are nearly shoved to the side as the surgeons do most of the work themselves in the show; a fact which is rarely imitated in real life.  Telemetry nurses are one of the most important parts of a hospital and are the glue which holds a modern day hospital together; without telemetry nurses, it would become difficult to monitor the hundreds of patients in any given hospital.  Surgeons cannot be expected to keep watch over every change in their patient’s breathing.

Technology has evolved to a point to make this into a niche career within the field of nursing.  While it is still not heavily recognized in pop culture nursing shows and movies, the fact remains that it is one of the most vital parts of the health industry, especially when there is now so much monitored via technology.  Telemetry nurses fill a void within the health care community, and trying to keep up a well-running hospital without them would be futile. 


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