Cardiac Care Nurse: Education and Career Information
Cardiac care, or cardiology nurses work in a specialized field that make up about two percent of nurses in the field. This is a very competitive specialization where the nurses are equipped to treat patients who have serious heart conditions. This nurse can work in a number of areas, including pediatrics, surgical, ambulatory and adult and geriatric care. They work directly with cardiologists in helping to carry out directives to keep cardiac patients comfortable and on their recommended regimen. There is an estimated 66 percent increase in cardiovascular diseases through the year 2030 in the U.S., which increases the need for qualified nurses. This helps fuel the growing demand for nursing professionals in this area who have taken the time to get the education and experience required for this field, as they can take on some of the functions of the doctor when needed. This career path takes a lot of preparation and schooling.
What does a cardiac care nurse do?
A cardiac care nurse is a registered nurse who has a specialization in cardiovascular medicine. They can teach other nurses and give patients advice on maintaining good cardiovascular health. They often seek advanced education beyond the initial graduate degree. They help treat conditions related to cardiovascular or pulmonary diseases. They work directly with the cardiology unit to develop preventative medicine treatments and diagnostics. They are equipped to handle electrocardiograms and specialized tests that will help minimize heart risk and offer solutions for rehabilitation. They work in private medical facilities, hospitals, coronary care units, cardiac rehabilitation centers and government agencies to help put policies in place that will help progress the field of cardiac medicine. Some of the duties of a cardiac care nurse:
•Monitoring the electrocardiogram
•Stress test evaluations
•Prescribing and managing cardiac medications
Cardiac care nurses treat a number of diseases such as coronary artery disease, cardiac monitoring, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and more. They must have specialized skills like medical administration and defibrillation through an IV drip and electrocardiogram monitoring. Cardiac care nurses also work in Cardiac Catheterization Labs, Electrophysiology Labs and Telemetry Care.
How much do cardiac care nurses earn?
Experience plays a huge role in this career field, but compensation may vary from $72,000 a year upwards to over $100,000. There are over 1.5 million heart attacks per year, with over 80 million Americans suffering from heart disease, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This has created a need for cardiac care nurses, as there is an increasing shortage of qualified nurses. With these demands, this salary will continue to grow. The salary is also contingent on the location and type of facility and role the cardiac care nurse plays.
What types of skills are needed to be successful in this field?
The critical care nurse has a number of roles depending on where they work. A nurse must be versatile and able to deal with a number of stressful situations at the same time. In a critical care department, the stress levels can be intense and life-threatening. Having a level head is one of the most important skills a critical care nurse must possess, and the ability to be a viable support system for the doctors and patients. Critical care nurses must be able to make fast decisions and think on their feet in very short blocks of time. Some additional skills needed to succeed in this career field are:
•Critical Thinking and Evaluation Skills
•Ability to work with others
•Ability to work independently
•Good communication skills
•Good grasp of technologies
•Good grasp of medical concepts
•Ability to speak to patients and families
There are rigorous internship requirements for the standard nursing program that progress as the career advances. After the initial two or four-year program, there is 2,000 hours of clinical experience in cardiovascular nursing required, with more anticipated hours and experience over time and depending on the specialty or certification the nurse is seeking. Every certification exam has specific guidelines and required clinical internship experience that must be completed prior to submitting an application to sit for the exam.
The education requirements are rigorous and intensive. First, it is necessary to obtain either an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Most cardiac care nurses have a BSN, as they are also required to have an extended degree after the bachelor’s. After receiving the degree, they must pass the NCLEX-RN exam to become licensed to practice as a nurse. There are a number of clinical internship experiences required in cardiovascular nursing. Coursework in a standard cardiac nursing program include:
•Nursing Management of Cardiac Patients in Critical Care
•Advanced Health Assessment
•Nursing Management of Cardiac Patients in Acute Care
When that portion is completed, a person interested in becoming a critical care nurse must apply to take the Cardiac Care Nursing Certification Exam.
Passing this exam will award the nurse, the Cardiac Vascular nursing Certification (RN-BC) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). There are a number of criteria that must be met to sit for this exam:
•Hold a current RN license.
•Have current national certification in a clinical nursing specialty.
•At least 1,750 hours of critically ill or acute care patients within a two-year period prior to submitting the application. 875 of those hours must have occurred within the last 12 months.
At a minimum, cardiac care nurses must have an educational background in Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. Although not required, most nurses who specialize in critical care pursue a Master’s Degree in Nursing (MSN) to succeed in this specialization. Concentrations in the master’s degree programs include:
•MS Nursing, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Cardiac Specialty
•MS Nursing, Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Cardiovascular Specialization
•MS Nursing, Cardiac Care Concentration
•MS Nursing, Cardiovascular Health and Disease Management
The Certified Heart Failure Nurse (CHFN) is another major certification available for nurses who are working in the critical care nursing field. Criteria for this exam are as follows:
•Hold a current RN license
•Work for at least two years as an RN
•Have 1,200 hours of clinical practice in the two-year period prior to submission of the application
•Have at least 30 required hours of continuing education within the two-year period prior to submission of the application, with 15 hours in heart failure care
There is also a certification available from The American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine for acute and non-acute care that will assist in career advancement. This certification has three levels:
•CVRN Level 1 for Non-Acute Cardiology Care
•CVRN Level 2 for Acute Cardiology Care
•CVRN Level 3 for Catheterization Laboratory Nurses
Once all of the certifications have been obtained, there are 30 hours of continuing education required. Certification must be renewed every five years.
Get Matched to Online Programs In A Few Clicks!
Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Programs in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
- BS in Business Administration
- MS in Accounting - Audit Specialization
- AAS in Criminal Justice
- And more...
Argosy University offers doctoral, master's, and bachelor's degree programs to students through its eight colleges.
- Business Administration (BS)
- Curriculum and Instruction (EdD)
- Liberal Arts (BA)
- And more...
100% Online & No Standardized Testing
- Doctor of Education: Community Care & Counseling: Marriage & Family
- Doctor of Ministry: Evangelism & Church Planting
- M.Div: Homiletics
- And more...
Earn your degree or diploma on your schedule and succeed at Ashworth College.
- Payroll Clerk
- Private Investigation
- High School
- And more...
Aviation Institute of Maintenance schools are distinguished institutes committed to the education and personal enrichment of each student interested in the Aviation Industry.
- Aviation Maintenance Technician
- Aviation Maintenance Technical Engineer
Ohio University has offered distance learning educational opportunities for more than 100 years.
- Master of Business Analytics
- Master of Health Administration
Study for your graduate education with University of Illinois at Chicago.
- Master of Science in Health Informatics
Prepare for an exciting career in the trucking industry at All-State Career. * Programs vary by location * Please contact each individual campus for accreditation information
- Class A CDL Driving Programs
Learning at Full Sail University has always centered around interaction and the exchange of ideas. Our online curriculum fully embraces this philosophy.
- Cloud Technologies Bachelors - Online
- Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
- Entertainment Business, Master of Science (Online)
- And more...
Making the decision to earn your degree and pursue your career goals could be the best decision you ever make. Enroll at ECPI University and you’ll join a collaborative and fostering learning environment, surrounded by faculty and staff who are there to support you through the entire process.
What Are You Waiting For?
- Cloud Computing - Bachelor's
- Cyber and Network Security - Bachelor's
- Network Security - Associate's
- And more...
- Northcentral University was founded in 1996 to provide working professionals around the world with unprecedented access to richly engaging, professionally relevant, and academically-rigorous education from a U.S. university.
- International Business - D.B.A.
- Leadership in Higher Education - EdS
- MS Organizational Leadership - Nonprofit Management
- And more...
You can receive a top-notch education in a flexible environment. Learn more about the Villanova online learning experience and the difference that sets us apart by further exploring our online programs.
- Online Master of Laws in Taxation
- Online Master of Science in Analytics
- Online Master of Business Administration
- And more...