What Does a Cardiac Care Nurse Do?
Cardiac care nurses work primarily with patients that suffer from heart diseases and conditions. They can work in a wide variety of settings including coronary care units, intensive care units, operating theatres, cardiac rehabilitation centers, private clinics and ambulatory care facilities. The conditions they treat can include: angina, cardiomyopathy, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, myocardial infarction, cardiac dysrhythmia and post surgical care after bypasses, angioplasties and pacemaker implants. They also perform stress test evaluations, cardiac monitoring, vascular monitoring, and health assessments. Cardiac care nurses must also possess certification in Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Specialized skills include electrocardiogram monitoring, defibrillation and medical administration through intravenous drip. Cardiac care nurses have a wide variety of environments and conditions with which to specialize in. From pediatrics or geriatrics to post surgical or ambulatory care, the possibilities are numerous.
How Can I Become a Cardiac Care Nurse?
All cardiac care nurses are registered nurses first that choose to receive certification in this area of expertise. Students must attend nursing school to obtain a registered nursing degree, either a two or four year program. Following completion of this degree, students must successfully pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a licensed registered nurse. Upon the completion of a minimum of two years of work as a registered nurse, a minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical experience in cardiovascular nursing and 30 hours of continued education in cardiovascular nursing, a nurse can apply to take the cardiac care nursing certification exam. This exam is administered through the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Also, because a great deal of cardiac care includes educating patients about preventative and management care, cardiac care nurses should enjoy learning, be able to retain a great deal of information and communicate well with others. The slightest miscommunication between patient and provider could be life threatening.
What Is the Career and Salary Outlook for a Cardiac Care Nurse?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, there are roughly 1.5 million heart attacks that occur each year and nearly 80 million Americans suffer from heart conditions. Obviously these statistics indicate that there is an increase in the number of cardiac patients entering the health care system and that number only continues to grow. Also, as the nation faces an overall nursing shortage, the need for cardiac care nurses will be on the rise more than ever before in history. Today, a cardiac care nurse can earn on average $64,450 a year, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. Obviously the salary you receive will depend on the area of the country you practice, the type of facility you work in, as well as any further specialization you work with, like pediatric or post surgical cardiac care.