I have been blessed over the past 15 years to be an active participant in the nursing profession.  While I have learned numerous things, a few certainly stand out. Foremost, is how complex and challenging a career in nursing can be.  Secondly, is that the joy and pain encountered in this fascinating, dynamic profession are rewarding and constant. During my own career, I have worked in some of the most amazing hospitals with the best nurses in the world.  My own practice has varied from the emergency room, open-heart recovery, cardiac cath lab, electro-physiology lab, and currently I find myself as a nurse educator also pursing her MSN.

Learning is not finished when one graduates from a university but continues throughout a lifetime. The reasons for continued learning are varied, ranging from changes in technology and the health care system to a change in practice venue.  It is because of this lifetime of learning that I felt compelled to write Fast Facts about EKGs for Nurses.

I have taught a class similar to this manuscript for the past several years and have heard from new graduates and seasoned veterans alike that EKG is always perplexing and difficult to de-code.  However, the method laid out in this book is step-by-step, easy to follow and understand.  It has been taught to nurses practicing in and out of the hospital setting, with varying experience levels, and the outcome is always the same. They get it! Frequent comments upon course completion include, “I wish I had taken this class sooner!” and “I really didn’t understand EKG strips at all and now I feel great about them.”

Understanding the electrical function of the human heart along with the ability to identify EKG rhythm strips are valuable skills. This knowledge is paramount when caring for patients in medical facilities and is also important when reviewing charts for court, case management, and/or quality control. Nurses practicing in clinics, on ambulances, and in various locations within the armed services also benefit from these skills.

Fast Facts about EKGs for Nurses provides the foundation for understanding the electrical function of the heart. The simplest terms are used and a “box” diagram is the basis for describing the electrical conduction system. After just the first few chapters, a crystal clear comprehension of this system and its components dawns. After mastery of rhythm strip complexes and identification techniques, the most widely documented EKG rhythms are discussed in detail. There are actual EKG strip examples of each rhythm, most from real patients! Practice strips and scenarios are also included.

This fantastic tool can serve as a self-learning experience, a refresher course, and/or the basis for an EKG class. This manual was developed using numerous resources combined with multiple years of cardiac nursing experience. The techniques and scenarios detailed are useful and very real. Being able to identify EKG rhythms with confidence is an excellent attribute for anyone in the nursing field and this book provides the techniques to achieve it!