In 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, claiming over 60,000 lives annually. As such, the prevention and reversal of heart disease is of primary importance in modern medicine.
Cardiac care nurses work with patients who are suffering from heart diseases or related issues. Patients may have experienced bypass surgery or angioplasty, or they may be wearing a pacemaker. They may suffer from cardiomyopathy, coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, cardiac dysthrhythmia, or myocardial infarction. Cardiac care nurses provide pre- and post-surgical care, perform stress test evaluations, monitor vascular or cardiac activity, and assess health.
As a cardiac nurse, your work setting may be in a private specialized clinic or in a hospital. You may perform your duties in a coronary care unit, the intensive care unit, an operating room, an ambulatory care facility, or a cardiac rehabilitation center.
The cardiac care nurse position is one of the RN jobs that requires a bit of extra schooling. Just like other RNs, you must earn your nursing degree either in two or four years and pass the NCLEX-RN exam. In addition, you must log at least two years of work experience as a registered nurse, achieve at least 2,000 hours of clinical cardiovascular experience, and take thirty hours of continuing education in cardiovascular training. Upon completion of these things, you must take the cardiac care nurse exam. Also, you should be certified in basic life support and advanced cardio life support.
Even within the field of cardiac care, you can specialize. For example, you may which to work in geriatrics, pediatrics, or post-surgical care. There are plenty of options available to RNs who specialize in cardiac care. On average, cardiac care nurses earn about $65,000 annually, but this will vary depending on your location and other factors.