What Does a Cardiology Nurse Do?

Cardiology is a nursing specialty involving the treatment of cardiovascular problems with surgery, medication, and lifestyle recommendations. A cardiology nurse, also called a cardiovascular nurse, is part of a team that includes doctors, surgeons, and technicians. If you want to know more about the duties and education level of a cardiology nurse, keep reading. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Job Duties

Cardiology nurses record a patient's medical history and symptoms, administer various treatments and medications, perform diagnostic testing or have the testing done by qualified technicians, and help diagnose the results. Another responsibility you'll have is talking to patients and their families, helping them understand heart conditions and educating them on relevant health problems and procedures.

As a cardiovascular nurse, you'll likely be working in the office of a cardiologist or in a hospital as part of a cardiology team, helping patients who have coronary heart disease, have suffered recent heart attacks, or are recovering from heart surgery. After consulting with other health professionals and determining risk factors for further cardiovascular problems, you'll work with patients to plan a course of action to keep their cardiovascular systems healthy after surgery or treatment. These plans might involve lifestyle modifications involving nutrition, smoking, exercise regimens, and other health factors. Your job will not end with a patient once they leave the hospital. You'll be responsible for planning and helping perform follow-up examinations.

Important Facts About Cardiology Nurses

Median Salary (2014) $66,640 (for all registered nurses)
Job Outlook 19% growth
Key Skills Customer service oriented, critical thinking, situational awareness, good judgment and decision making, excellent communication, time management
Similar Occupations Physicians assistants, EMTs, paramedics, dental hygienists, licensed practical nurses, licensed vocational nurses, nurse anesthetics, nurse midwives

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Education Requirements

You must first become a registered nurse (RN) by completing a diploma program in a hospital or finishing an associate's or bachelor's degree program at a college; if you plan on graduate studies, you'll need a bachelor's degree. All nursing programs involve training in the care of children, adults, and seniors. Some courses you may take include health assessment, pharmacology, pathophysiology, mental health, and nursing leadership.

Graduating from any RN programs qualifies you to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, or NCLEX-RN, which is used by state boards to grant nursing licenses. Once you've attained licensure and employment, on-the-job experience working in cardiovascular units can help you edge into the specialty of cardiology nursing.

You might decide to continue your education to become an advanced practice nurse. Through a Master of Science in Nursing program, you can become an acute or primary adult nurse practitioner (NP) who specializes in cardiovascular care. Upon completion of a master's degree program, you might seek a cardiology NP fellowship for additional clinical experience.

Certification Options

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers the Cardiac-Vascular Nursing certification. The certification is open to RNs who have at least two years of work experience, 2,000 hours of cardiovascular clinical practice, and 30 hours of cardiovascular nursing continuing education credits (www.nursecredentialing.org). The certification can benefit your career by validating your experience and knowledge, proving that you meet accepted standards for the profession.

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