Last Updated on March 7, 2023
February is American Heart Month, the perfect time to celebrate all the nurses working hard to help improve cardiovascular health all around the world. And for any nurses who might be looking for a new career path, this is also a great time to consider working cardiac nursing jobs, too.
That’s because experienced cardiac care nurses are in demand, with employers offering opportunities across the country. With that in mind, here’s what you should know about working a cardiovascular nursing job, as well as a look at what it takes to land one.
Cardiac Nursing Jobs: What to Expect
So, what’s in a cardiac care nurse job description, exactly? What does a typical day in the cardiac care unit look like?
Working under the supervision of a cardiologist, cardiac nurses are RNs who provide care to patients with cardiovascular (a.k.a., heart) conditions. One of the most common and fatal diseases in the United States, heart conditions include congestive heart failure (CGD), stroke-related coronary artery disease, angina, fatigue, cardiac dysrhythmia and many other serious diseases.
While this type of care often takes place in cardiac/coronary care units (CCUs), cardiac nurses also work in other hospital settings. These include intensive care units (ICUs), cardiovascular intensive care units (CVICUs), and operating rooms (including cardiothoracic surgical units). Cardiac nursing jobs could also be at cardiac rehab centers, physician practice offices or even in a home health setting.
There are quite a few different duties in the day-to-day life of a cardiac care nurse. The type of facility as well as its location and area of clinical focus all affect what you’ll be doing. That being said, cardiac nurse jobs usually require you to:
- Assess patient status, including taking labs, ordering tests and providing meds related cardiovascular health
- Perform continuous monitoring of patients, or oversee monitoring by cardiac techs
- Interpret tests and document changes in the form of patient reports
- Help to prep patients for cardiovascular surgery
- Provide postoperative care to help avoid complications like infections and blood clots
- Alert the treating doctor of any changes or alarming trends
- Communicate with patients and help education them so they understand what’s happening, why, and what they can do to live a better life with their condition
Cardiac Nursing Jobs: How to Get Hired
These can be some tough duties, and the patients under your care are often in a serious condition. So, the nurses who apply for these jobs should be able to thrive in stressful environments. You’ll also need good communication skills, as well as the attention to detail to carry out complex medical care plans. And because cardiac conditions can change in a literal heartbeat, you should also be ready to think fast and act even faster!
To work a cardiac nurse job, you’ll need to be a registered nurse with an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). You’ll also need certification in basic life support and advanced cardiac life support. A number of other certifications are also available to help you land a job, and could also help you earn a higher salary:
- Cardiac Vascular Nurse – Board Certified (CV-BC) from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- Board Certification in Cardiac Medicine (CMC) and Board Certification in Cardiac Surgery (CSC) from the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)
- Cardiovascular Nurse-Level I and Level II (CVRN-BC Level I and Level II) from the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine (ABCM).
- Certified Cardiac Rehabilitation Professional (CCRP) from the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR)
You should also have skills in electrocardiogram monitoring and defibrillation, as well as familiarity with procedures like valve replacement/repair, pleurodesis, coronary artery bypass graft, aneurysm repair and central line dressing changes. You can also expect to carry out other tasks like synchronized cardioversions, and inserting and removing emergent chest tubes or central lines.
> Interested in working a cardiac nursing job with CareerStaff? See all available assignments here
Explore Cardiac Nursing Jobs with CareerStaff
If you’re in the market for a new cardiac care career opportunity, you’ve come to the right place! We’re currently hiring motivated and experienced RNs for cardiac nursing jobs across the country. See for yourself by checking out all our available cardiac nursing jobs here, or fill out a quick online application now.