On August 19, Brian, the manager of the Cleveland Clinic Monitoring Unit in Beachwood spoke to students and alumni at Larock Healthcare Academy.
The CCMU is a specialized department developed by Cleveland Clinic to centralize remote monitoring of hundreds of patients in Cleveland Clinic hospitals across North East Ohio. Remotely monitored patients are usually monitored by a technician “down the hall” in the same hospital as the patient. New technology allows these functions to be centralized into one location, increasing efficiency and allowing greater expertise of the technicians watching the monitors.
Brian explained that the unit monitors cardiac activity, automatic blood pressure, oxygen saturation, ventilators and intracranial lines. The technicians watch for abnormal activity that could indicate a problem and promptly notify the nurse on the patient’s floor if there is a change. The technicians also record routine readings and chart in the patient’s electronic health record as appropriate. There is a very strong focus on interpretation of EKG strips, and the technicians become experts.
Each technician can monitor up to 48 patients at a time, the unit routinely monitors between 500 and 600 hundred patients daily. They currently watch inpatients in five Cleveland Clinic Hospitals, requiring a staff of about 90 technicians. Over the next two years they will add six more CC Hospitals, more than doubling the patient load and the staffing required to monitor them.
Brian explained that staff includes some Emergency Medical Technicians with EKG experience, as well as doctors and nurses who have foreign licenses and are attending school to be licensed in this country. The unit also employs a large number of trained EKG Technicians, like the ones who graduate from Larock Healthcare Academy. He said that technicians routinely work three 12- hour shifts a week. Shifts include day and night, but once the schedule is published, swapping is allowed and people work together to make sure everyone is accommodated.
Technicians enjoy full benefits, and have outstanding education opportunities through in-service training and seminars, as well as temporary assignments to other departments to gain experience. The work uniform is scrubs in navy blue, dark gray, or black.
After interviews and screening, new hires spend 40 hours in orientation, to complete paperwork as well as training to work in the Monitoring Unit. Then, several weeks are spent working one-on-one with an experienced technician to gain skills and comfort. Finally, the new technicians start monitoring a few patients, gradually increasing to the full 48 per shift.
Cleveland Clinic Monitoring Unit offers an outstanding opportunity for those with patient care and EKG backgrounds, and for newly graduated EKG Technician students seeking a great experience in an entry level position.