Nursing specialties - Cardiac care nurseDecember 3, 2014
Cardiac care nurses undergo specialised training that is focused on treating patients suffering from heart disease. This includes patients across all ages, from the very young to the very old. The majority of patients are older individuals who suffer from a variety of cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke or high blood pressure.
A cardiac care nurse performs routine as well as highly advanced procedures depending on the severity of the patients’ symptoms. Some of the tasks include:
- Performing stress tests
- Administering medications
- Performing diagnostic testing
- Monitoring patients
- Assisting the physician with procedures
- Responding to cardiac emergencies
- Communicating with the family
- Keeping patients’ records
- Educating patients about preventive care, post-operative care and medications
Providing comfort and empathy is especially important for cardiac patients as the focus is on reducing their stress levels. Cardiac care nurses play a crucial role in this aspect.
Nurses who specialise in cardiac care usually work under the supervision of a cardiologist in the cardiac care or critical care departments in hospitals. Some may also choose to work in intensive care units, operating theatres, rehab facilities or with cardiac patients in their home.
Education and training requirements
To practice as a cardiac nurse you need to first obtain a registered nurse (RN) certification. You can do this either by successfully completing a four-year bachelor’s degree in nursing science at a college or university or by earning a two to three year associate’s degree at a vocational school and then sitting for the licensing exam.
After receiving your RN certification, you will need to gain some experience in critical care nursing. While certification in cardiac care nursing is not a mandatory requirement to practice, it is advisable to plan on obtaining it as it can give you a huge advantage if you decide at a later stage to pursue a higher position in the cardiac nursing specialty area. Nurses who obtain certification in their specialty areas are more highly regarded by patients and are usually given preference by employers too. This is because certification acts as an endorsement of your proficiency in your field and also demonstrates your commitment to your career.
There are various certifications within cardiac care but you do not have to choose any in a hurry. You will find it easier to choose after you have been working in the field of cardiac care nursing for a few years as you will have a better understanding of which certifications would best fit your personal preferences as well as your career goals. All certification exams usually require you to be a licensed registered nurse and to have at least two years of nursing experience.
Heart disease has in recent years become an enormous and growing health problem across the world. With the number of patients suffering from cardiac diseases increasing rapidly, there is a growing demand for nurses who specialise in cardiac care nursing and this trend is expected to continue for several years to come. If you are interested in pursuing a career in this field and are looking for long-term career growth, you know you are on the right track.
Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.