Cardiovascular nurses are licensed registered nurses who specialize in caring for patients with cardiovascular conditions, such as congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, cardiac dysrhythmia, and angina. Cardiovascular nurses work closely with physicians, nurse practitioners, and other medical personnel to diagnose, treat, and manage heart problems using their broad knowledge and skills. In addition to performing basic nursing duties, such as taking vitals and recording symptoms, cardiovascular nurses also conduct stress tests, monitor heart activity, and perform health assessments.
The employment data listed above comes from the 2010 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. These figures represent the entire registered nursing profession, which includes cardiovascular nurses. The responsibilities of cardiovascular nurses often vary based on their position, employer, location, training, and education, but the basic duties remain the same.
- Perform health assessments, record observations, and consult with doctors
- Operate stress tests and monitor heart activity
- Administer medication and treatments
- Educate patients about their condition, preventatives, and treatment plans
Cardiovascular nurses play an important role in ensuring the safety and well-being of patients suffering from cardiovascular conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, claiming about 600,000 lives each year. The growing threat of heart disease and an increased emphasis on preventative care will directly impact the cardiovascular nursing field. Employment of registered nurses, including cardiovascular nurses, will grow faster than average because of technological advancements and the aging baby boomer population who need more cardiovascular services.Read More
Job Growth for
Becoming a Cardiovascular Nurse
To become a cardiovascular nurse, you must first complete the necessary education and training needed to become a licensed registered nurse. This begins with earning a degree or diploma in nursing from an approved nursing program at a four-year university, community college, or other higher education institutions. While in nursing school, students will take a variety of science and nursing courses, including anatomy and physiology, chemistry, psychology, nutrition, microbiology, and pharmacology.
In addition to taking courses, students will also complete clinical practicums that correspond with their study of gerontology, psychiatric and mental health care, pediatrics, reproductive health care, and other specialties. Clinical experiences are arguably the most important part of a student's nursing education. It gives students the chance to apply their knowledge and skills in real-life health care settings and find the nursing specialty that fits them best. Here is a list of common nursing courses with corresponding clinical practicums:
- Adult and Older Adult Health Care
- Child and Adolescent Health Care
- Community/Public Health Nursing
- Management of Patients in High Acuity Settings
Upon completion of a nursing degree or diploma program, graduates will prepare to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Graduates who pass the exam and meet their state-specific licensing requirements will be awarded a license to practice. Cardiovascular nurse careers can be very competitive. Candidates may get hired right out of school or need a few years of nursing under their belt to be considered for employment. All current and prospective cardiovascular nurses will need to have Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification, both offered by the American Heart Association.