What Does A Cardiac Nurse Do?
Cardiac nurses are registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients with heart and vascular diseases. They provide care to individuals of all ages although adults and seniors comprise the bulk of the people they care for. Some may also focus only on managing and caring for newborns and children suffering from heart issues. They use their expertise in handling patients with high blood pressure, stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, coronary artery disease, heart valve disease, pericarditis and other cardiac conditions.
In caring for patients with heart problems, cardiac nurses are usually part of a multidisciplinary team of health professionals. Their responsibilities include assessing patients, recording their medical histories and crafting the plan of care for them. If there is already an existing plan from the patient’s supervising physician, cardiac nurses don’t have to make plans from scratch but simply contribute to it. As part of the healthcare team, cardiac nurses regularly consult with physicians and other team members regarding the patient’s condition and on the medications that should be administered to the latter. If they notice changes in the patient’s condition, they immediately report this to the doctor and see to it that the orders are immediately carried out.
Cardiac nurses are usually part of a hospital’s emergency response team. Whenever patients are brought to the emergency room for respiratory arrest or other emergency heart problems, they are part of the team that gives immediate medical care. They also do the same for patients who are currently confined in the facility.
In addition to giving emergency medical care, cardiac nurse specialists are also found in the hospital’s intensive care units and telemetry. In ICUs, they typically care for patients whose hearts have been compromised because of life-threatening conditions like myocardial infarctions or those who have just had open heart surgery. Cardiac nurses need to be adept at using sophisticated medical equipment that monitor the condition of the patient. In telemetry, cardiac nurses are trained in the use of telemetry units that keep track of the patient’s heart rhythm. It’s a given that cardiac nurses in these settings know what to do in case of emergencies.
An important part of the work of cardiac nurses is educating patients on the management of their condition. They inform them on the proper way to take their medication and any dietary changes they need to make. They also include how much exercise they can do and the ways by which they can manage stress. If they are working with patients who smoke or drink, cardiac nurses stress the importance of quitting so that they reduce the chances of suffering from cardiac problems. They may also advise obese patients who are already dealing with heart issues to start eating healthy and exercise.
Cardiac nurses with postgraduate degrees may be eligible to teach nursing students in colleges, universities and teaching hospitals. When they assume the role of professors, they also perform the responsibilities of teachers which include preparing lesson plans, delivering lectures, administering tests and computing student grades. They also supervise students when they do their clinical duties in the hospital. To become an effective clinical instructor, cardiac nurses must see to it that they are constantly updated on the latest technologies and studies done in this field.