As a cardiac nurse, you are a registered nurse who will specialize in providing care to those who are suffering from cardiac issues or those who have just undergone heart surgery. You will also provide care to those who have blood vessel disorders. You can provide care to patients of all ages although most of your patients are going to be adults. You may also specialize in giving care only to newborns and children who have heart problems.
As part of a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals, you will plan, carry out and evaluate the healthcare regimen for patients who have cardiac conditions that include but are not limited to myocardial infarctions, vascular diseases, heart valve problems, high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmias. Because heart patients may also be suffering from other health conditions like diabetes, cardiac nurses are also trained to manage these conditions as well.
Providing care to patients who have just had heart surgery is also part of the work of cardiac nurses. They help in the management of patients who have had open heart surgery, heart transplants and valve replacements. They may also provide rehabilitative care to patients who have just had cardiac surgeries. In this capacity, bulk of their responsibility lies in educating the patients on any dietary changes that need to be made, the ways they can manage stress, the lifestyle changes they need to make and the proper way to take their medications.
To succeed as a cardiac nurse, you need to be sympathetic and compassionate to the plight of patients suffering from cardiac issues. This requires a lot of patience since cardiac sufferers may need assistance in doing activities. Since you will be dealing with those who are in pain or are distressed, you must also be emotionally stable as well. You also need to be observant and keen in paying attention to small details so that you can note changes in the condition of the patient and provide the appropriate medical interventions. Physical stamina is also going to be important since you will be on your feet most of the time lifting and assisting patients.
Why Become A Cardiac Nurse
A career as a cardiac nurse is best suited for those who want a career that would enable them to care for and provide service to those who are sick. Nursing is already a noble profession in itself but specializing in cardiac nursing gives inclined individuals the chance to give care to those who are suffering from one of the most common conditions afflicting many people in the world today.
On the practical side, another good reason to be in this profession is the fact that there are good opportunities for employment in the field of cardiac nursing in the next few years. The profession also provides good pay.
Cardiac Nurse Work Environment
Cardiac nurses work mostly in hospitals although they may also be hired by doctors’ offices, nursing and residential care facilities and home healthcare services. When working in hospitals, they are most likely found in telemetry rooms which have devices called telemetry units that keep track of the heart rhythms of patients. They are also found in intensive care units. The work is fulltime and typically carried out in rotating schedules because these facilities need to be open 24 hours a day.
Like other registered nurses, cardiac nurses are also prone to back pains and injuries since the job entails providing physical assistance to patients who may be too weak to move. They may also be prone to infections. To protect themselves against these potential health hazards, they must strictly follow hospital procedures for hygiene and disease prevention.
Cardiac Nurse Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages report of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that the mean annual wage of registered nurses, including cardiac nurses, is $69,790. The top paying states for this occupation are California ($98,400), Hawaii ($88,230), Massachusetts ($85,770), Alaska ($85,740) and Oregon ($82,940).
The job outlook of registered nurses is very positive. In the period covering 2012 to 2022, their employment rate is set to increase 19 percent, a rate that is faster than the average rate for all job types. The demand will come from the aging population who are expected to have more health problems.
The need will also come from the fact that reforms in federal health insurance will have more people availing of medical services.
Cardiac Nurse Degree
The minimum educational qualification to work as a cardiac nurse is a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) degree. After getting a BSN degree, aspiring cardiac nurses must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become a registered nurse.
Employers typically don’t hire newly-minted registered nurses to work in the field of cardiac nursing. They need to work as a registered nurse first and have exposure to patients with heart cases before they can take a certification exam in cardiac vascular nursing. Passing this will give them the title of cardiac nursing specialist and make them eligible to work as cardiac nurses.