Cardiovascular nursing is one of the most in-demand professions in healthcare. These healthcare professionals often work alongside cardiologists, providing care to patients with heart conditions. Many cardiac nurses oversee the care of patients who have undergone open heart surgery.
Education Requirements for Cardiovascular Nursing
Cardiovascular nurses are required to have a minimum of an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN), a two year nursing program. Many nurses in this profession continue on to earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), a four year degree. Once you have completed either program, you will then be required to become licensed. To do this, you will need to take the NCLEX-RN test.
To gain entry into most nursing schools, you will have to have good undergraduate grades and an adequate score on the TEAS test. Also, you will need to pass a physical examination and obtain certain vaccinations, such as Hepatitis B and Tetanus.
Cardiovascular Nurse Certification
All cardiovascular burses earn this title through certification and licensing. In this sector of nursing, you will need to have a complete and advanced understanding of the heart and cardiac physiology and anatomy. The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers three areas of cardiovascular certification.
- Cardiac-Vascular Nursing –Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) To take this examination, you must hold an active RN license, work for at least two years as a nurse, and have a minimum of 2,000 hours of cardiovascular nursing experience.
- Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing – Registered Nurse-Board Certified (RN-BC) To take this test, you must hold an active RN license, hold an active ANCC certification, and complete a minimum of 1,000 practice hours in this specialty.
- Vascular Nursing – Registered Nurse Board Certified (RN-BC) To take this examination, you must hold an active RN license, hold an active ANCC certification, and complete a minimum of 1,000 practice hours in this specialty.
Cardiac Nursing Career Opportunities and Salaries
Many cardiovascular nurses work in cardiovascular laboratories and diagnostic centers, vein clinics, and hospital settings. These nurses will be based in the intensive care unit, coronary care units, and also cardiovascular catheterization laboratories. Nurses in this sector typically work for cardiologists and gain employment in private physician practices which give them a more flexible schedule.
The average pay for a cardiovascular nurse is from $69,000 to $90,000 per year, according to many web sources. The average pay depends on the nurse’s education, years of experience, location of practice, and job setting. The addition of extra certifications and credentials will earn you more money in this area.
Job Duties of the Cardiovascular Nurse
Cardiovascular catheterization laboratory nurses (also called “cath lab nurses”) are professionals who work with and care for patients who have heart disease. Cardiovascular nursing professionals work in post-surgical units and cardiac care units. Cardiac rehabilitation nurses work with patients following heart surgery or a cardiac event. These nurses perform diagnostic testing, help with cardiac-related procedures, and also disperse medications. Cardiovascular nurses assist in the placement of pacemakers, defibrillators, and other heart devices.