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Stress Test Technician

Test how healthy patients' hearts are by making them run on a treadmill.

What does a Stress Test Technician do?

Even the Bionic Man has his heart tested now and then to make sure it’s working at superhuman levels. Of course, the average cardiac patient is no superhero, which means it’s even more important for them to get tested. In order to get a vision of what the heart is up to, Stress Test Technicians monitor patients while they walk or run on the treadmill.

Although observation is part of your job when you’re a Stress Test Technician (looking for signs of serious fatigue, weakness, or loss of breath), you let machines do much of the work. But the machine is a computer, which means it can’t think like a human. So you attach electrodes to the patient’s arms, legs, and chest, which send information to the electrocardiograph (EKG) machine.

You then monitor the readout, and report the results to the Physician or Cardiologist supervising the stress test. Every patient will have a different response to the test, so you need to be prepared for anything. While one patient might run freely for 20 minutes, another might only last a few minutes before collapsing.

But never fear! As a Stress Test Technician, you’re a master of multitasking. You watch the printout, offer a supporting shoulder as needed, explain the procedure, report inconsistencies, and make adjustments to the rate of speed and incline as directed by the Doctor.

If that doesn’t keep you busy enough, you also make careful notes in the patient’s chart, outlining the speed, incline, and duration of the test. Then, you include comments about the patient’s reaction and vital sign (blood pressure and heart rate) variations.