Does pursuing a career as a cardiac nurse sound like something you would love to do? Learn all you need to fulfill this dream, including education and experience. We'll even give you a peek into the day in a life of a cardiac nurse.
What is a Cardiac Nurse?
A cardiac nurse, also called a cardiovascular nurse, is a nurse who cares for and educates their patients in the areas of heart disease and prevention. Cardiac nurses work with their patients to rehabilitate, prevent and recover from cardiovascular diseases and conditions. This type of nurse works closely with a cardiologist to ensure quality care for heart patients.
The Center for Disease Control reports that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the US. With 1.5 million heart attacks occurring each year and almost 80 million Americans suffering from heart conditions, it’s not likely that cardiac nurses will have to worry about job shortages anytime soon.
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Becoming a Cardiac Nurse
Nurses who are looking to specialize in cardiovascular care should already have patient care training from within a medical facility. Because cardiac nurses deal with a lot of major injuries and illnesses, it’s recommended that the nurse be experienced in clinical care and/or medical surgery. Most of the patients that cardiac nurses deal with have just gone through heart surgery and surgery experience is often necessary.
According to registerednursing.org, “the minimum education requirement to become a cardiac care nurse is an ADN (Associate Degree in Nursing), although many hospitals prefer at least a BSN (bachelors of science in nursing).”
To take the cardiac nurse certification exam, you must complete a minimum amount of continuing education in the field, plus at least 2,000 hours of clinical practice. This certification is available through the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).
You may also consider completing a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree to become a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist (CNS). This will require at least two years of graduate study, as well as recognition by your state board of nursing as an advanced practice nurse (APN).
Where Do Cardiovascular Nurses Work?
Typically, cardiac nurses work in hospitals within the ICU or post-op areas. There are also specialty heart disease facilities and clinics where cardiac nurses are employed. Some cardiac nurses choose to work in nursing homes, prisons or jails, schools, the military or provide homecare.
What Does A Cardiac Nurse Do?
Cardiac nurses most often deal with patients that are recently out of surgery and it’s their job to get patients back to healthy after their procedure. Cardiac nurses are qualified to provide cardiac care to patients of all ages, which may include newborns and elderly patients.
A cardiac nurse may perform stress tests, complete health assessments, care for patients after an operation or closely monitor the patient’s heart rate. A few other duties cardiac nurses provide are:
- Assess and treat patients
- Administer medication
- Treat chronic health conditions
- Monitor electrocardiogram readings
- Monitor cardiac and vascular readings
- Educate patients and their families
- Support patient lifestyle changes
Typical Pay and Employment Outlook For Cardiac Nurses:
According to PayScale, cardiac nurses can earn a salary range of $45,820 to $103,019 per year or $22.10 to $49.41 per hour. An entry-level Cardiac Care Unit Nurse with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average salary of $53,000. This salary fluctuates based on location, facility and the RN's experience level. Experienced cardiac nurses can expect to be on the higher end of the salary range provided by PayScale.
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The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics has predicted that registered nurses will see an increase of 19% in jobs over the next decade, making it a stable career path for RNs.
If you’re thinking of becoming a Registered Nurse, specializing in cardiac care and are looking for an opportunity that fits your lifestyle, then look no further. At Freedom Healthcare Staffing, we have the perfect job waiting for you! Contact us today or fill out an application and we will be in touch.