ECG 3s and 5s -Tips for reading ECGs Free Teaching Article for Nurses and Students

ECG 3s and 5s -Tips for reading ECGs


  • The ECG offers much valuable information for the assessment of heart problems and patient care.
  • Interpretation of the ECG requires a systematic approach
  • Reading the ECG using a simple aide memoire that breaks down important components into ‘3s and 5s’ can help the novice reader gain confidence..



"Electrocardiography is regularly used in the investigation of heart problems, but the correct interpretation and understanding of an ECG readout can be difficult for students to learn and teachers to teach".


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Dr Bishop is a Practicing Cardiologist in Hobart. Warrick has a passion for cardiovascular disease prevention and a strong interest in imaging the heart and cholesterol management.

About the Author



Warrick Bishop is a cardiologist with special interest in cardiovascular disease prevention incorporating imaging, lipids and lifestyle.

He is author of the #1 International Best Seller “Have You Planned Your Heart Attack?” with over 20,000 copies in print; the book is a discussion for patients and doctors about how we can be most precise about cardiovascular risk and save lives!

Graduating from the University of Tasmania, School of Medicine, in 1988. He worked in the Northern Territory and South Australia before completing his advanced training in cardiology in Hobart, Tasmania, becoming a Fellow of the Royal Australian College of Physicians and Member of the Cardiac Society of Australia and New Zealand in 1997.

Working predominately in private practice. In 2009 Warrick undertook training in CT Cardiac Coronary Angiography, being the first cardiologist in Tasmania with this specialist recognition. This area of imaging drives his interest in preventative cardiology. He holds level B certification with the Australian Joint Committee for CCTA and is a member of the Society of Cardiac Computed Tomography.

Warrick is also a member of the Australian Atherosclerosis Society and regularly contributes to education, guidelines and industry in this area. He has also developed a particular interest in diabetic-related risk of coronary artery disease, specifically related to eating guidelines and lipid profiles.

Warrick is an accredited examiner for the Royal Australian College of Physicians and is regularly involved with teaching medical students and junior doctors. He has worked with Hobart’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research on projects in an affiliate capacity and is recognised by the Medical School of the University of Tasmania with academic status.

For more than a year, Warrick has been a member of the Clinical Issues Committee of the Australian Heart Foundation, providing input into issues of significance for the management of heart patients.

In his free time, Warrick enjoys travel and music with his wife, and he surfs and plays guitar with his children.