How to Become a Cardiac Nurse? – Overview
Do you want to become a cardiac nurse? If you want to know how to become a cardiac nurse, you are at the right place. First, you should get information about cardiovascular diseases and how to get into this profession.
A report confirms that 17.9 million deaths took place worldwide due to cardiovascular diseases in 2019, making it a leading cause of death among men and women.
Congestive heart disease, Arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease are the diseases that affect the heart.
Cardiac nurses take cardiac patients with cardiac surgical procedures, cardiac rehabilitation, and post-cardiac surgery.
Cardiac nurses, known as cardiac specialists or cardiac technicians, provide cardiac care to people using cardiopulmonary monitors, devices, and advanced skills to ensure the best possible care for their patients.
Who is A Cardiac Nurse?
A Cardiac nurse serves patients receiving treatment for cardiovascular conditions and diseases in the healthcare sector. They are RN or registered nurses (RNs) who are specifically trained and certified in the cardiovascular field.
Skills Required to Become A Cardiac Nurse
Cardiac nurses need specific training on the heart and its function. These nurses require communication, critical thinking, organization, and teamwork skills. A reliable cardiac nurse requires the following technical skills:
- Acute care
- Critical care
- Advanced cardiac life support (ACLS)
- Treatment planning
- Patient care
- Life support
These nurses have to spend a lot of time educating patients and families about treatment plans; hence you must be comfortable communicating with others.
Education Required for Cardiac Nurse Profession
To pursue a cardiac care nurse career, the minimum education required is an ADN, preferably a BSN. Before starting to work as a cardiac nurse, you must obtain registered nursing credentials, and the options are detailed below:
- ADN or Associate Degree in Nursing from an accredited nursing school, completed in 18-24 months.
- BSN or Bachelor of Science in Nursing, constructed in 4 years from an accredited college or university.
- An ADN to BSN Bridge program further takes about 12-18 months.
- An RN-BSN bridge program for registered nurses takes about 1-2 years to complete.
Although ADN is a minimum requirement, most employers prefer cardiology nurses with a BSN. Those who prefer higher roles such as cardiology research should acquire an MSN or MSc in Nursing to work independently of cardiologists or supervisors when treating patients.
Licensure For Becoming A Cardiac Nurse
As soon as you complete your ADN or BSN program, you can sit for the NCLEX-RN exam, where questions are based on the candidate’s ability and specialty, which takes up to six hours to complete, including scheduled breaks.
The NCLEX exam examines the nurse’s abilities, knowledge, and cognitive skills, like critical thinking, problem-solving, etc. If you don’t clear the exam on the first attempt, a 45 day waiting period will apply to try again.
Certification is not mandatory for a cardiology nurse, certificates are preferred. AACN or The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers many certifications, which include:
- CSC or Adult cardiac surgery certification enables cardiac nurses to provide direct care to critically ill cardiac surgery patients within 48 hours after cardiac surgical procedures. They can also work in post-anesthesia care units.
- CMC Adult cardiac medicine certification, a specialty certification for RNs to directly care for acutely ill cardiac patients in cardiac care units, heart failure clinics, ICUs, and telemetry
- RN-BC or Cardiac Rehabilitation Nursing Certification allows cardiac nurses to work with cardiac rehabilitation programs where heart patients recover from surgical procedures and treat various cardiac conditions.
- CV-BC Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification, an extreme specialization, allowing nurses to work in cardiac catheterization labs, makes them more viable candidates for open positions.
Eligibility criteria vary for these certifications, and you may need to do some research before you enroll. Most certificates require at least two years of practical RN experience and 2,000 clinical practice hours in the last three years.
6 Steps to Become a Cardiac Practitioner
Becoming an experienced and trained cardiac nurse takes some years, which is not easy. Below we will discuss the steps to answer the question, of how to become a cardiac nurse:
1. Obtain Registered Nurse (RN) Status
Becoming an RN is the first step of the cardiac nurse’s journey. So you must obtain an RN license and work for at least one year as an RN to be eligible for further career advancement.
2. Complete Your CCTP – Cardiac Care Training Program
CCTP certification is recommended based on your experience and education for career advancement and practice independently. This enables you to treat cardiac patients and emergencies. It furnishes the procedures of surgical treatments to cardiovascular patients.
3. Attain Practical Experience
This is very crucial to have practical experience in any field, so get some after your training program. Research to determine the institution that can provide enough practical training to become an experienced cardiac nurse and acquire more knowledge on handling cardiac patients.
4. Get a Cardiovascular Credential
As you are sufficiently trained and practically experienced, enroll in a cardiovascular credential exam to get certified as a registered nurse, which proves that you have the necessary professional development skills in this field.
The CST or Cardiovascular System Technologist Certification exam is recommended by many to become a cardiology technician, recognized by The American Board of Cardiovascular Perfusion.
5. Go For Post-Master’s Program Certificate
You must obtain a Post-Master’s Certificate in adult cardiology or pediatric cardiology to become a cardiac nurse practitioner and help you gain more experience, get more information, and develop your skills for treating heart diseases.
6. Attain APN or Advanced Practice Nurse License
Your next move should be to get an advanced practice nurse license to prove your skills for handling any heart care emergencies independently.
Experts recommend it to a cardiac nurse practitioner at the core of this career and to be hired by an institution for independent heart disease treatment.
The Roles and Duties of A Cardiac Nurse
Before becoming a practitioner in the field of cardiac nursing, you should know your roles and duty. Some of the important roles and duties include:
- Assess cardiac patients health
- Medication administration
- Evaluate stress
- Treat chronic health conditions
- Monitor electrocardiogram
- Provide post-surgical care following heart surgeries
- Insert and remove IV drips
- Monitor the use of a defibrillator
A Few Organizations, Societies, and Agencies to help in the USA
- Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association
- American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine
- The Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nurses
- Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
- European Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Cardiac nursing is high-demand expertise where you work with cardiologists, surgeons, pharmacists, and other nurses in providing the best possible heart care to patients.
We hope we were able to answer your question on “how to become a cardiac nurse” adequately. You serve humanity along with earning money in this noble profession.
I am a dedicated healthcare researcher and an enthusiast specializing in medical grants, medical education and research. Through my articles, I aim to empower healthcare professionals and researchers with valuable insights and resources to navigate these critical aspects effectively.