Skip Navigation

School of Health Sciences > Practice Learning > Practice Learning Resources

Cardiology Teaching Package

A Beginners Guide to Normal Heart Function, Sinus Rhythm & Common Cardiac Arrhythmias


More and more areas within our hospitals are beginning to use cardiac monitors. Previously, the traditional areas were the Coronary Care unit (CCU), the Intensive Care Unit (ITU), and Theatres. Both hospitals in Derby, the City Hospital and the Royal Infirmary (DRI), have introduced cardiac monitors into traditionally non-cardiac areas in recent times.

At the City Hospital, cardiac monitors have been in use on ward 3 for some time now and there is a plan to introduce them onto the Medical Assessment Unit (MAU) in the near future. At the DRI, cardiac monitors are now in use on ward 4 and MAU, Clinical Decisions Unit (CDU), as well as being planned for introduction on ward 9 (Acute Stroke Unit) in 2006.

This means that, for both qualified and student nurses, exposure to cardiac monitoring is much greater than it has ever been before. But along with the exposure comes the need for more specialised knowledge on :

This cardiology teaching package has been produced by Greg Moran, a Medical Clinical Facilitator for Cardiology at the Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, in collaboration with the University of Nottingham School of Nursing.

It is aimed primarily at pre-registration nurses but it will be of use to any nurse who is either new to cardiology, or who works in an area where a basic introduction to cardiac rhythms is required. Unlike a great many "introduction to cardiology" books out there, this teaching package assumes no prior knowledge other than a basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology.

The teaching package will be available through the University and on the hospital intranet, so it can be used by individuals or groups, during or in preparation for a placement where cardiac monitors are in use. Each section comes with 10 multiple choice questions, so the student or nurse will be able to test their learning. Working through the teaching package could also be used as evidence and could contribute towards student nurses meeting their NMC practice outcomes/proficiencies for this part of their training.

The format for the teaching package follows known standards and deals with the most common rhythm disturbances that the student or nurse will encounter in a monitoring area.

The teaching package is broken down into a number of sections. Each section covers:

The main aim of this teaching package is to provide a very simple approach to ECG rhythm analysis, how to recognise a normal heart rhythm,(known as sinus rhythm), and how to use this basic knowledge to recognise the presence of a rhythm abnormality and the symptoms it might cause.

Subsequent sections use this basic knowledge to explain how damage to the myocardium (heart muscle) can cause the rhythm to change and how to recognise each abnormality using very simple rules. Pictures, diagrams and analogies are used throughout to help to simplify each section. A picture paints a thousand words, as they say. Although the student can access sections independently, it is advisable to read sections 1 and 2 before venturing further.

The aim of the teaching package is to give the student or nurse a very basic platform for developing their cardiology knowledge. With basic knowledge and skills comes the confidence to learn more. Because this is aimed at developing basic knowledge, feedback will be very welcome. Email

Greg Moran Clinical Facilitator Staff Nurse, Cardiology, DRI

  • Return to top of document
  • Previous page
  • Next page