How to Become a Cardiac Nurse

Learn how to become a cardiac nurse. Find information on job duties, education, training, and certification. View popular nursing schools that prepare students for careers as cardiac nurses.

Job Duties

Cardiac nurses may provide care for patients from infants to the elderly. Some of their duties may include performing stress test evaluations, cardiac and vascular monitoring, and providing health assessments. These nurses may also provide electrocardiogram monitoring and heart catheterization recovery. Patients who have recently undergone heart bypass or pacemaker surgery may be cared for by cardiac nurses as well. In addition, cardiac nurses may provide assistance to doctors and surgeons during surgical procedures and angioplasty.

Education

In order to become a cardiac nurse, students should complete either an associate or baccalaureate degree program in registered nursing and obtain nursing licensure. An associate degree in nursing may provide students with the fundamentals of nursing and patient care. A baccalaureate degree in nursing may provide more broad knowledge in different medical areas. Upon graduation, students may have to obtain a nursing license in the state in which they want to practice. Once a nurse has gained experience in cardiac nursing, they may choose to enroll in a master’s program in order to specialize in advanced cardiovascular nursing which may teach the specifics of caring for and rehabilitating cardiac patients.

Training

In order to become a cardiac nurse, individuals may need to take continuing education courses in areas such as cardiac rehabilitation and telemetry. These courses may be taken through online certificate programs or continuing education programs. Those who wish to specialize in a particular area of cardiac nursing, such as pediatric cardiology or heart catheterization, may be required to take additional courses and be certified in these areas. Nurses may also obtain additional on-the-job training through clinical practice and education.

License & Certification

Upon graduation, students must obtain licensure in their state before they may practice nursing. To be licensed, students must complete an approved nursing program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Cardiac nurses may also wish to seek Cardiac Care Nursing Certification from the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM). The ABCM offers three levels of certification for cardiac nurses, including Level I non-acute cardiology care, Level II for acute cardiology care, and Level III for heart catheterization laboratory nurses. Though voluntary, some employers may have preference for those with this professional certification when considering both job applicants and candidates for career advancement.

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