Cardiovascular nurses, sometimes referred to as cardiac nurses, are licensed nurses who specialize in assisting patients who suffer from illnesses of the heart and vascular system. Cardiovascular nursing certification programs offer on-the-job educational opportunities to practicing, licensed nurses who want to specialize in cardiovascular care. Applicants must have a bachelor's degree in nursing, a RN license and professional experience. Courses are commonly available online. To graduate, 9-12 credit hours, clinical hours in the field, and an exam must be successfully completed.
Some schools provide certification programs, as does the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), which issues certifications. Certification from ANCC is voluntary, but to earn it, RNs are required to complete continuing education hours in the field of cardiac nursing. Some certificate programs in the field of cardiovascular health and disease management are intended to help nurses meet these continuing education requirements.
Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification
Specific courses cover subjects in the areas of fitness, medical test reading and treatment plans, to name a few. Examples include:
- Cardiac risk prevention
- Exercise therapy
- Electrocardiogram (ECG) interpretation
- Identifying risk factors
- Pharmacologic strategies
- Cardiac disease treatments
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not list data for just cardiovascular nurses, it did report that registered nurses in general held 2,751,000 jobs in the U.S. in 2014. Moreover, employment for RNs was predicted to grow by 16% between 2014 and 2024. According to the BLS, the median annual wage for registered nurses was $67,490 as of May 2015.
Continuing Education and Certification Information
The American Nurses Credentialing Center does offer certification for cardiac/vascular nurses. To qualify for the certification, individuals must be licensed RNs who have at least two years of professional nursing experience as well as 2,000 hours of clinical experience working in the cardiovascular field. They should also have at least 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac nursing, most of which can be completed within a certificate program in cardiovascular health. They must complete an examination to receive the cardiac/vascular nursing credential.
Cardiovascular nursing certification programs include traditional coursework and direct clinical experience units. Graduates will be prepared to understand treatment strategies, illness prevention and risks, and how to interpret medical exam results.