We know that a cardiac nurse works with heart patients, but what do they do, exactly? Let’s take a closer look at this job to see if it is right for you.
Cardiac Nurse Jobs
A “heart nurse” goes by many different job titles. Each of them has their own specialties. Let’s look at each of them – what they do, and how to become qualified for those jobs.
Cardiac Nurse Certification
Before we look at each job there is, we need to know how to become certified. As with any nursing specialty, you will need to take additional tests and qualify for specific accreditation standards.
There are a few different certifications you can go for if you are interested in specializing in this.
Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has a wide variety of certifications you can earn. If you are interested in cardiology, look into either getting the CMC or CSC certifications.
CMC is Cardiac Medicine. You’ll need to prove a certain number of hours taking care of critically ill patients and pass a test. Learn more here.
CSC Certification is Cardiac Surgery Nursing. This certification will prove that you are able to provide direct care for patients in the first 48 hours after heart surgeries. There are clinical practice hour requirements and an exam to pass. Learn more here.
After you have your certifications, you will be more hirable in the field of your choice.
But which field should you choose? Let’s look at what the different nurses actually do.
The most general term for a nurse that works with patients with heart problems is a cardiovascular nurse. They are also called cardiovascular clinical nurse specialists or CNSs.
Most CNS jobs will be located in hospitals. Since they are specialized to work with the heart, they will care for critically ill patients and those recovering from surgeries and procedures like bypass, angioplasty and more.
But the hospital isn’t the only place they work. They could help patients recover at home. And the work with patients of all ages, since heart problems don’t only happen to a certain age group.
Another term for a Cardiovascular Nurse is a Cardiology Nurse. Both jobs are essentially the same – helping patients recover and/or educating people about how to maintain heart-healthy lifestyles.
Cardiothoracic nurses typically work in intensive care units. They closely monitor patients with heart conditions that are considered critical. Their job requires them to think quickly on their feet and notice subtle hemodynamic changes that could lead to serious complications.
Cardiac Nurse Salary
How much does a cardiac nurse make?
Due to the requirement for certifications, the salary for a cardiac nurse is higher. The salaries vary by state. You can see an overview of how much you can earn in each state by visiting the Nurse Journal Website.
Here are the average incomes for cardiac nurses as reported by top job websites:
- Indeed – $63,00
- SimplyHired – $52,000
Is Cardiology Right For You?
Now that you know basically what they do and how become a cardiac nurse, is it right for you?
Take Charge of Your Nursing Career
Your first year as a nurse is daunting. You need someone in your corner telling you what your managers really need from you, helping you learn to interact with your preceptor, and really just manage your life. Find all that an more with the FreshRN VIP - Membership.I'm Ready to Thrive
This job deals with life and death situations. It requires extreme attention to detail and the ability to react quickly when things turn for the worse, like in a code blue.
You also need emotional strength. You’ll be interacting with grieving family members and people that might stubbornly refuse to listen to heart-health advice.
It is an incredibly rewarding career. You’ll experience so much joy as you see people overcoming tough odds and healing from open-heart surgeries.
If you can handle both the highs and lows and the stress of life and death situations, this job is perfect for you.
Become a Cardiac Nurse
If you’re interested in transitioning into the nursing specialty of cardiology, the Cardiac Crash Course will give you the skills and confidence you need to hit the ground running. Whether you’re interested inc cardiology, you’ve newly transitioned, or you just want a refresher on the critical knowledge and skills of a cardiac nurse, this course is for you.
Worried about managing chest tubes? Explaining afib to your patient? Not confident in your CABG discharge instructions? This course addresses all of those newbie cardiac nurse pain points! This course is comprehensive! It has over 70 modules with text, videos, images, and downloads. It’s written by nationally certified expert nurse educators: a CV-surgery NP and an emergency department nurse. Plus it has 8 CEUs!
More Information About Nursing Careers
Want to learn about other types of nurses and what they do? Here’s more information so you can make an informed decision.