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What is a Cardiac Nurse?

What is a Cardiac Nurse?

Working as a cardiac nurse can give you a specialty that is extremely rewarding and valuable. These types of nurses work closely with cardiologists to help people improve their heart health. They also monitor people with heart conditions. Because the heart is such a vital organ, making sure it is as healthy as possible matters. While you may not be able to improve everyone’s heart health, you can work with patients who need treatment and monitoring so they can live the best lives possible. When choosing this path for your career, you have the opportunity to work with people of all ages and make an important and significant difference in their lives.

What is a Cardiac Nurse?

A cardiac nurse works with patients who have diseases or conditions of the heart, or who have a heart that has been damaged by injury or trauma. Congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, valve problems, and more are treated by these types of nurses. Additionally, people who have had heart surgery and are recovering will be monitored by a cardiac nurse.

Nurses who work with cardiologists can administer stress tests, give medications, and assist with urgent matters such as defibrillation. Heart patients often need significant care in order to help improve their quality of life or simply to keep them alive. A cardiac nurse will be on hand to offer this kind of care, under the watchful eye of a cardiologist.

What Does a Cardiac Nurse Do?

Specifically, a cardiac nurse has a number of duties that they will perform. These can include performing assessments, monitoring and administering medications, taking vital signs, treating chronic health problems, using a defibrillator, providing post-op care, monitoring electrocardiogram readings, performing evaluations such as stress tests, and working closely with a cardiologist. Patients who need cardiac care often have other health conditions, as well, and the cardiac nurse may work with other nurses or doctors to also address those conditions so that the patient has the best chance of seeing significant improvement in their heart health and other conditions they may have.

Why is a Cardiac Nurse So Important?

The importance of a cardiac nurse cannot be overstated. These nurses literally keep hearts beating at times, and may be what helps a person who would otherwise not survive. By caring for heart patients, a cardiac nurse also allows cardiologists to take on more patients and help more people. In turn, that saves additional lives and improves quality for people who are living with chronic heart issues.

A cardiac nurse can provide hope, compassion, and healing for patients who may be frightened of the heart issues they are facing, or those who may be dealing with significant pain after a coronary event or an operation to repair problems they have been facing with their heart and circulatory system.

How to Become a Cardiac Nurse

Those who want to work as a cardiac nurse should be aware of the fact that it is a stressful area of nursing that can have demands beyond typical nursing requirements. They will need high levels of dedication and compassion and will need to be focused on putting their patients first in order to ensure that those patients get all the care they need. That gives patients the best chance of success and the highest chance of staying alive and feeling well again as they recover from heart procedures. In some cases, a heart problem is chronic and will not improve. In those cases, patients may need additional emotional and mental health support as they grapple with challenges. The right cardiac nurse can make a big difference for those patients.

Educational Requirements and Training

A cardiac nurse must have a minimum of an ADN degree, but most hospitals and other facilities prefer that their nurses earn a BSN instead. Once their degree is obtained, a nurse will need to pass the NCLEX-RN test and be actively licensed. Nurses who are serious about their work as a cardiac nurse are additionally advised to pursue an MSN. As these nurses begin their journey to becoming a cardiac nurse they should actively seek to gain experience in the cardiac nursing field as a certain amount of work experience is required.

Additionally, there are certifications that are specific to cardiac nursing. A cardiovascular nursing certification (RN-BC) is available, and a nurse who wants to obtain this must have at least two years of nursing experience. These nurses will also have to show that they have obtained 30 hours of continuing education credits in the previous three years and that they have 2,000 hours of clinical practice that relates to cardiovascular nursing. Being certified in both basic and advanced cardiac life support is something most hospitals want to see, as well.

The Cardiology Nurse Career Outlook

Fortunately, the road to becoming a cardiac nurse is well-paved and promising. Due to the number of heart patients and the growing issues with heart disease around the world, cardiac nurses are in demand and will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future.

Salary and Employment

Generally, a cardiac nurse will earn between $46,000 and $106, 000 per year. The difference in salary comes from experience, area of the country, and other factors. The median salary is $66,000. The higher end of the pay range is usually occupied by cardiac nurses with an MSN and lots of experience. Nurses without an MSN and those who are just starting out in their chosen specialty can expect to start near the bottom.

Cardiac Nurse Resources

Having the right resources matters, as cardiac nurses will want to be sure they are going to the right places for the help and support that they need as they step onto their career path. There are plenty of resources for the cardiac nurse, including places to get their questions answered and organizations that can help them get the support they are looking for.

Cardiac Nurse FAQs

Understanding everything there is to know about cardiac nursing may take a little while, but learning the answer to some of the most important questions can help a person get started. Here are some of the most common things people want to know when they consider a career in cardiac nursing.

1. Is an ADN or BSN the right choice? Most cardiac nurses have a BSN or higher, but everyone’s situation differs.

2. Can someone go from an ADN into an MSN program? Yes, there are ADN to MSN options to choose from, which will help you have the opportunity to advance in your career.

3. Are stress levels for cardiac nurses too high? No, you can do it! While working as a cardiac nurse can be stressful, it can also be extremely rewarding. Taking care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, and following a nutritious diet can help you keep up with the pace.

Helpful Organizations, Societies, & Agencies

For anyone who wants to pursue a career in cardiac nursing, there are organizations that can help by providing information and support. Here are some of the most important organizations to consider when looking for cardiac nursing information.

Cardiac Nurse Scholarship

Check out and apply for our scholarship made available to future health professionals!

List of Cardiac Nurse Programs

If you’re looking for a list of programs, check out our list of the best BSN degree programs in the United States to help you get started.

What Now?

If you are interested in getting started on a career in cardiac nursing, we are here and ready to help you do that. Reach out to us today, and we can provide more information about the career path. Be a part of life improvement for so many people by reaching out to us. We want to connect dedicated people like you with the resources needed to determine a new career and get started moving toward it. You can reach your goals, help other people, and get what you need in one place when you come to us.

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