NHS chiefs roll out first programme training nurses to read ECGs at Northwick Park Hospital
PUBLISHED: 14:34 03 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 03 September 2018
Health chiefs have set up the country's first hospital-led ECG training courses for nurses in an attempt to ease the strain on consultants.
London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust cardiologist Harmandeep Singh believes nurses can play a vital role in improving health outcomes for patients with heart related conditions.
But when he carried out an informal staff audit of Ealing Hospital’s six wards he was surprised to find only two of the 50 nurses knew how to read an electrocardiogram.
He and senior cardiac nurse Gary LaTouche decided to set up the training, which has taken place across the trust’s sites including Northwick Park.
Harmandeep said: “We know nurses can carry out ECGS but they have no formal training in reading them. It’s a skills gap we think needs to be addressed.
“There has always been a heavy reliance on consultants reading ECGs and vital time can be lost in identifying a potential problem.
“In an ideal situation, nurses would carry out and read the ECG, alert a consultant to a potential situation, and have the necessary drugs and paperwork prepared if they need to be transferred to a specialist treatment centre.”