Training to become a cardiology nurse starts with undergraduate work in nursing followed by graduate work and, more specifically, specializing in cardiac nursing. As highly trained nurses, their daily duties may include counseling and educating patients on cardiovascular diseases and prevention and working directly with patients and patients' records.
Cardiology nurses are registered nurses who work with patients suffering from medical conditions of the heart, such as coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure. These nurses generally work in either a healthcare or research setting. All cardiology nurses must become registered nurses, which involves completing an associate's or bachelor's degree in nursing and passing a national exam. Cardiology nurses may further their careers by completing a graduate degree program or a voluntary certification with a professional organization like the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine.
|Required Education||Associate's or Bachelor's degree in nursing|
|Other Requirements|| State nursing license
Certification from a professional organization may be required by some employers
|Projected Job Growth* (2014-2024)||16% for registered nurses|
|Median Salary* (2015)||$67,490 annually for registered nurses|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Cardiology nurses help to diagnose and treat conditions that affect the pulmonary or circulatory systems. They may focus on preventative medicine and patient education or assist with diagnostics, such as electrocardiograms and other specialized tests.
Cardiology nurses may take on a variety of roles. At the advanced level, clinical nurse specialists work in hospitals and other medical facilities, conducting research and taking a lead in patient education and preventative techniques. Registered nurses treat and educate patients in a clinical setting, keeping records of medical histories and performing diagnostics. They work with patients and their families to teach them how to manage cardiovascular disease, educate them on dietary and other measures of minimizing heart risk and help patients with postoperative rehabilitation.
The most common way to pursue a nursing education is to obtain a 4-year bachelor's or 2-year associate degree in nursing at a college or university, though a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is recommended for advancement. Nursing education involves a combination of classroom experience and supervised clinical experience.
Licensure and Certification
After graduation, prospective nurses must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a registered nursing license. Nurses interested in specializing in cardiology may apply for voluntary certification with the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine. Requirements for certification include active RN licensure, with at least two years of RN experience and 2,000 hours of clinical cardiac nursing experience. If applicants meet these requirements, they may sit for an exam and become board-certified.
Advancement in Cardiovascular Nursing
Becoming an advanced practice cardiology nurse involves obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing in the specialty field of cardiac nursing. Options include cardiac nurse practitioner and cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist programs. Coursework is augmented with a practicum and a residency in cardiac nursing, providing hands-on experience working with cardiac patients.
Salary Information and Job Outlook for Cardiology Nurses
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't maintain data specifically for cardiology nurses. However, it reported that in 2015 the median annual wage of registered nurses in general was $67,490. The BLS reported that job opportunities all across the registered nursing field were expected to be excellent from 2014-2024, increasing by 16% over the decade.
Cardiology nurses must first become registered nurses, involving an undergraduate degree in nursing and passing the registered nursing exam. After they have acquired some experience in nursing, they can then pursue a Masters in Nursing where they can find cardiology specializations. Cardiology nurses may provide counseling or patient care; in general, helping to diagnose and treat cardiovascular ailments.