What is a Cardiac Nurse?

A cardiac nurse helps people with cardiovascular issues receive medical care and support to recover from their ailments.

It includes heart disease, coronary artery problems, strokes, heart failure, arrhythmia, and other cardiovascular issues.

Cardiac nurses play an integral role in patient care throughout their treatment.

As a result, they provide essential and direct medical care before, during, and after patient therapies and procedures.

These procedures include heart surgery, coronary bypasses, lung cancer treatments, transplantation, or other procedures.

What Do Cardiac Nurses Do?

From a consultation perspective, cardiac nurses advise their patients on various health topics.

These specialists help patients develop better healthcare habits and optimize their lifestyles to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

They educate them about dietary changes, adequate exercise, reducing stressful events, and maximizing rest.

They also assist individuals with other health factors related to their lifestyle choices.

Cardiac nurses create treatment plans designed to aid in preventing cardiovascular issues and aid their recovery.

The cardiac nurse’s first aim is to prevent patients from needing surgery or other invasive medical procedures.

Preventing advanced interventions and medical procedures requires offering thorough education and healthcare planning.

When those options are unavailable, and further medical care is needed, cardiac nurses work with patients in a medical facility or healthcare setting.

In this capacity, these specialists provide additional medical care and support.

When working with patients who require medical care at a healthcare facility, cardiac nurses perform numerous duties.

For instance, they monitor their patient’s vital signs, administer medications, and assist with rehabilitation programs.

They also record the patient’s recovery status, administer stress tests, and perform other duties related to cardiac care.

Cardiac Nurse Responsibilities:

  • Treat chronic conditions
  • Update medical records
  • Assist with rehabilitation
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Document recovery progress
  • Administer medications
  • Assist cardiologists with various procedures
  • Provide education and emotional support
  • Conduct stress tests

Where Do Cardiac Nurses Work?

Cardiac nurses work in diverse healthcare settings treating patients with various cardiovascular health issues.

It includes hospitals, surgical units, specialty clinics, cardiac centers, ICUs, and cardiovascular care departments.

They also operate in cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology labs, telemetry care, and research center. 

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Surgical units
  • Cardiac care centers
  • Cardiovascular departments
  • Intensive care units
  • Specialty clinics
  • Cardiac catheterization labs
  • Telemetry care
  • Electrophysiology labs
  • Research centers

Heart disease and other cardiovascular issues commonly occur among older adults.

As a result, many of the patients cardiac nurses help are older or elderly patients who require additional medical care.

It’s typical to see cardiac nurses in settings that provide medical care to adults with cardiovascular health conditions.

Necessary Skills

Cardiac nurses must be patient and understand their patient’s needs.

Patients have often gone through traumatic experiences.

As a result, they may fear physical activity or other actions that may affect their health or cause further cardiovascular stress.

Sometimes, these nurses spend months working with their patients, especially in centers.

Therefore, it’s common for cardiac nurses to develop healthy and long-lasting relationships with their patients.

Being a cardiac nurse is all about being kind-hearted.

As a result, these specialists must have a strong desire to help others recover from their illnesses and keep an open mind.

How to Become a Cardiac Care Nurse

The path to becoming a cardiac care nurse is relatively straightforward.

However, individuals must follow numerous steps to obtain careers in this profession.

It includes obtaining a nursing degree, acquiring work experience, and getting certified.

This section goes over the steps needed to become a cardiac care nurse.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming a cardiac nurse is to join a nursing program.

Nevertheless, students must complete the required college prerequisite courses before entering nursing school.

Prerequisite courses take roughly 1 – 2 years to complete depending on previous education.

Due to fierce competition, some nursing programs can be challenging to enter.

As a result, students must also maintain a good GPA while completing their prerequisites.

After completing the necessary nursing school prerequisites, students may apply for the program.

Some nursing programs enable students to apply for the program one semester before completing their prerequisites.

It enables them to get a head start on their application process.

Students may also apply to numerous nursing programs to mitigate competition and maximize their odds of acceptance.

2. Obtain a BSN Degree

Most nursing school programs enable students to pursue an ADN or BSN degree.

The two-year ADN degree provides fast entry into healthcare and prepares students for entry-level jobs.

It’s a great way to earn work experience and income quickly.

Nevertheless, students who want to pursue non-entry-level jobs and seek advancement opportunities will want a BSN.

The four-year BSN degree provides more comprehensive education and training, enabling nurses to operate in various specializations.

As a result, it’s highly recommended and beneficial for aspiring cardiac nurses to obtain their BSN.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN exam

At the end of nursing school, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to obtain their licensure and operate as licensed registered nurses.

The National Council of State Board of Nurses administers the NCLEX-RN exam.

It tests the nursing student’s comprehension, knowledge, and preparedness for their roles as registered nurses.

Upon completing the exam, nurses must pay all licensing and state fees to obtain licensure.

4. Acquire Work Experience

Work experience may not be necessary to obtain work as a cardiac nurse.

However, it’s beneficial for understanding nursing principles, patient care procedures, cardiac care, and other vital skills.

Obtaining work experience makes it easier to apply for cardiac care nursing positions.

While pursuing a career in cardiac care, gear your work experience toward cardiac care-related work.

It includes telemetry, emergency care, intensive care units, and other specializations.

5. Get Certified

Obtaining certification in cardiac care is also highly valuable.

It ensures employers you have a deep understanding of the job, adequate skills, and the determination to be successful.

There are numerous certifications available to aspiring cardiac nurses.

It includes the adult cardiac medicine certification (CMC) and the adult cardiac surgery certification (CSC).

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses administers offers the previous certifications.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers two additional certifications for renewal for registered nurses.

It includes the certified rehabilitation registered nurse and the certified vascular nursing certification.

Finally, registered nurses may pursue certification from the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine.

It includes the cardiovascular nursing certification (CVRN-BC) level 1.

Besides acquiring cardiac care credentials, registered nurses may also want to pursue more traditional certifications.

It includes basic life support, advanced cardiac life support, and pediatric advanced life support.