How to Become a Cardiac Nurse
The life of a cardiac nurse is complex, stressful, and intense, but for some people, it is as rewarding as it gets. Cardiac nurses work with health patients to help them enjoy the best treatments possible. If you decide to become a cardiac nurse, you will be responsible for assisting cardiologists and other heart doctors in all they do. This is a career best left to people who enjoy working with the heart and who have a true passion for learning about it. If you think that the heart is the most fascinating part of the human body, you should learn how to become a cardiac nurse. The guide below will help you do just that.
5 Steps to Become a Cardiac Nurse
Step 1 – Determine If This Is the Right Career for You
Before you can learn how to become a cardiac nurse, you need to figure out if this is the right career for you. Qualities of a good cardiac nurse include:
- A thorough knowledge of heart conditions and treatments
- The ability to communicate with doctors and patients
- A strong sense of organization and time management
- The ability to learn new information quickly
- A passion for helping other people
The cardiac sector of a health care facility can be an intense one because of how important the heart is in the human body. You have to be able to make decisions quickly as a cardiac nurse, and you have to be knowledgeable enough to answer questions as they arise. Many cardiac nurses will work in trauma wards because of the heart conditions that affect those patients. If you feel that you could work in this part of the hospital or a similarly stressful environment, you may do well in cardiac nursing.
Step 2 – Get an Education
Like most nurses, cardiac nurses must start their careers with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. These nurses have to also go through a graduate degree program to get an extensive education on cardiology. Here is a look at some of the degrees you may go through on your way to becoming a cardiac nurse:
- Diploma in Nursing (DN)
- Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN)
- Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
- Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)
Through you BSN program, you will not be learning much more than all other nurses do. This is enough for you to start working as an RN if you want to gain some experience in the field. To complete your education though, you will need to spend two extra years learning about the heart and the conditions that go along with it. Some nurses even go on to pursue PhDs after this, depending on where they want to work in the field. An MSN should be plenty sufficient for you to secure a job, but you can consider higher education if you want to.
Step 3 – Pass a Licensure Exam
You will need to pass a licensure exam in order to fully become a cardiac nurse. Most states will require at least a passing score on the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, but you may need to go through additional licensure programs before starting work. For instance, you may need to obtain a license specifically related to cardiac nursing to ensure that you know your way around this specialization in nursing. You can talk to someone at your state’s nursing board for more information about the educational requirements you will need to fulfill.
Step 4 – Gain Work Experience
You will most likely need to have some experience as a registered nurse before you can be trusted as a cardiac nurse. You could consider going through your MSN program while you work as an RN, and that will give you a chance to apply your learning directly to your work. The easiest way to go about this is to attend college online, but you could go through night school as well if the opportunity was available in your area. Either way, you can get your degree and your work experience at the same time if you schedule yourself correctly.
Step 5 – Find a Job
Finding a job as a cardiac nurse will simply be a matter of going where there is a high demand for the profession. Take the time to search through health facilities in your area, and you should be able to find work in no time.