How to Become a Cardiovascular Nurse

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In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death. Cardiovascular nurses are registered nurses that provide care to patients with many different cardiovascular conditions.

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What does a cardiovascular nurse do?

Cardiovascular nurses provide essential care to patients with many different conditions related to the cardiovascular system such as heart disease. They monitor and care for patients that are acutely or critically ill. They care for patients recovering from cardiac procedures such as angioplasty, bypass, and pacemaker surgery. Cardiovascular nurses assess patients, note observations in medical charts, monitor stress test evaluations, monitor cardiac and vascular readings, and provide education to patients. They also provide support to the families and caregivers of patients. Some cardiovascular nurses focus on cardiac rehabilitation and they provide advice and support to patients who need to make necessary lifestyle changes to benefit their health and decrease adverse effects of their condition.

What kind of training does a cardiovascular nurse need?

Cardiovascular nurses must become registered nurses by completing a diploma, associate degree, or bachelor degree in nursing. Many employers provide on the job training to new cardiovascular nurses to enable them to learn job specific tasks and the policies and procedures of the employer. All registered nurses must become licensed by passing the National Council Licensure Examination-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN). Many states require cardiovascular nurses to also take the cardiac/vascular nurse certification examination offered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The requirements to sit for the exam include continuing education hours and minimum clinical experience. Cardiovascular nurses must complete annual continuing education courses and additional training to keep their skills up to date and maintain their licenses and certification.

What are the prospects for a career as a cardiovascular nurse?

Employment of all registered nurses is expected to grow much faster than average for all professions, increasing 23% from 2006 to 2016 (1). The growing and aging population and increased need for cardiovascular care will drive job growth of cardiovascular nurses.

Job prospects should be excellent especially for cardiovascular nurses with extensive experience. Many job openings will arise from the need to replace cardiovascular nurses that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do cardiovascular nurses make?

As of December 2009, the average annual salary for cardiovascular nurses is $55,000; average annual cardiovascular nurse salaries vary greatly on location, employer, education, experience, and benefits (2).

A career as a cardiovascular nurse is an excellent choice for individuals with a strong interest in providing care to patients suffering from cardiovascular conditions. Cardiovascular nurses must have a solid understanding of the cardiovascular system. Patience, determination, critical thinking, and good problem solving skills are necessary. Cardiovascular nurses must have excellent communication and ability to work as part of a team. They must be able to help patients feel at ease. They must also be quick on their feet and make effective decisions in emergency situations.

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