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How Do I Become a Cardiovascular Nurse?

Cardiovascular nurses help treat cardiac and vascular diseases, heart and blood vessel problems that afflict more than a quarter of Americans. This article shows you how to become a cardiovascular nurse, from the educational requirements to voluntary certifications.

Career Overview

According to the American Heart Association, an estimated 80 million people in the United States suffer from at least one type of cardiovascular disease. Given this startling figure, you might want to become a cardiovascular nurse.

Important Facts about this Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $71,730 (for all registered nurses
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 15% (for all registered nurses)
Key Skills Must be critical thinkers, show compassion, pay attention to detail, be able to interact with patients and family, possess physical stamina
Work EnvironmentHospitals; physically demanding shifts; nurses often work evenings, weekends, and holidays

Source: US Bureau of Labor Statistics

Job Duties

Cardiovascular nurses work in critical care units, helping to manage their patients' cardiovascular disease. They may respond immediately to emergency situations regarding cardiac intervention or they may work as liaisons between patients and their doctors. Like other nurses, cardiovascular nurses will also help to develop and implement treatment plans.

Education

Cardiovascular nurses are specialized registered nurses (RNs) who focus on the heart and blood vessels. Like most registered nurses, to become a cardiovascular nurse you'll first need to complete a diploma program, associate's degree, or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program that will prepare you to earn RN licensure. You might also consider pursuing graduate education, like a Master of Science in Nursing, and some programs offer a cardiovascular specialization. New cardiovascular nurses may develop skills through training on the job or take continuing education specific to cardiovascular nursing.

Certification

The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers the cardiac vascular nurse credential for people with at least 2,000 hours of cardiovascular nursing experience and a current RN license. The certification is available to RNs with any educational background, though applicants need to have completed continuing education in cardiovascular nursing. The Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association suggests that advanced practice nurses may also earn the certification because there is no current equivalent certification solely designed for them.