A cardiac care nurse is a healthcare professional who treats and looks after patients suffering from heart problems, including chronic heart diseases such as congestive heart failure. Furthermore, cardiac care nurses also perform research while ensuring effective record keeping.
While being a cardiac care nurse is challenging, in the end, someone has to do it, right?! So, why can’t you be that someone? That said, before learning how to become a cardiac care nurse, you need to understand the duties and responsibilities of one. After all, taking care of such a sensitive body organ requires precision, yet somehow cardiac nurses make it look easy.
Some heart issues that cardiac care nurses have to look after include angina and coronary artery disease. Not to mention, they take care of patients after they have undergone bypass surgery. Furthermore, these healthcare professionals also inform doctors of patients’ vitals, administer medication, and ensure a heart patient’s overall health and well-being. Therefore, with that out of the way, let us look at a step-by-step guide on how aspiring nursing candidates can become cardiac care nurses. So, without further ado, this step-by-step guide is mentioned down below. Follow it to a ‘T,’ and you will be well on your way to becoming an excellent cardiac care nurse.
Obtain a GED or high school diploma
For aspiring nursing candidates to be eligible for any nursing degree program, a GED or high school diploma is a must. While a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, or an acls recertification are all vital to becoming a cardiac care nurse, you won’t be able to reach those levels unless you complete this step. In addition, a GED or high school diploma allows you to obtain the necessary baseline information and knowledge needed to venture into the nursing world.
Typically, while studying for a high school diploma or GED, you will learn about psychology, life sciences, math, chemistry, and biology. Furthermore, most colleges and universities will only accept candidates with a 2.0-grade point average or above. So, don’t forget about this requirement when you’re studying to obtain your GED or high school diploma.
Enroll in a bachelor’s program
After obtaining your high school diploma or GED, the next step in your journey towards becoming a cardiac care nurse is to acquire a Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN). Of course, you would want to achieve this degree with an excellent GPA to become a fantastic nurse in general. That said, most colleges and universities across the US offer various campus-based and online nursing programs, so you can rest assured, you will find something that fits your needs and budget. However, when searching for programs, remember how and where you will earn clinical experience. While undergoing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, expect to study courses including:
- Human development and growth
- Health assessment
- Clinical methodology
- Anatomy and physiology
- Leadership and professional image
- Psychology and humanities
- Medical coding
Typically, you will have to give four years of your life to study for and obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.
Get yourself registered as a nurse
After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing(BSN), now is the time to become registered in your area of work and respective state. Doing so usually means that you will be officially and legally allowed to practice nursing in your state. That said, to become an RN, you will have to pass the NCLEX-RN examinations with at least a score of 75 percent.
However, before taking the NCLEX-RN test, you will have to register yourself with the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). But, after passing the examination, you can work as an RN in any healthcare facility that employees nurses. An RN license is typically valid for two years. But, upon expiration, you won’t be able to practice as an RN in the US, so be sure to renew your license after every two years, which entails passing the NCLEX-RN exam again to maintain eligibility.
Apply to a cardiac care nursing practitioner program
After obtaining your RN license, the fourth step is to find an excellent post-graduate or graduate degree program that aligns with your lifestyle needs and professional career goals. However, more importantly, such a degree program must be accredited by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education(CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing(ACEN). Moreover, the programs’ lengths and difficulty can vary, depending on what you choose.
Gain some work experience
Since cardiac care nursing is a specialized subcategory of the nursing profession, you will require more training than usual. So, to allow you to achieve such a thing, continuing education (CE) hours and clinical practice towards certification will help you immensely. Furthermore, numerous organizationslike the American College of Cardiovascular Nursesnow provide training and CE hours. So, choose wisely and enroll in a CE or training program that fits your career goals and budget.
Get your certification
After obtaining a post-graduate cardiac care nursing practitioner degree and improving your work experience, the last step before searching for a nursing job is to gain the cardiac care nurse’s certification. Doing so will enable you to remain competitive amongst other certified cardiac care RNs. Typically, aspiring cardiac care nursing candidates must pass the ANNC Cardiac Vascular Nursing board certification examination. That said, to ensure your eligibility for such an exam, you must:
- Have 2000 hours of clinical practice during the previous three years
- Hold a valid RN license
- Have two years of experience or more as an RN
- Have thirty hours of CE hours in cardiac care
This examination usually costs around 55 dollars, and you will receive a certification that will be valid for five years.
Salary and employment prospect of a cardiac care nurse
On average, a cardiac care nurse can make anywhere from 46,404 dollars to 106,393 dollars per year. On the other hand, the median annual salary is around 66,466 dollars. However, salary prospects can change from state to state and usually depend on your experience as a cardiac nurse. Furthermore, if you decide to obtain a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you will become more employable and increase your salary prospects tenfold.
As far as job prospects go, most American citizens suffer from heart diseases, and it is one of the primary causes of death; thus, cardiac care nurses are in high demand.
Cardiac care nursing is a challenging and stressful job that requires candidates to have quick medical reflexes. However, in the end, what separates a good cardiac care nurse from an excellent one is their ability to face and overcome the harsh reality that not all patients can be saved. If this sounds appealing to you, follow the step-by-step guide mentioned above to make your journey to becoming a cardiac nurse significantly easier.