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Cardiac Nurse Practitioner

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, over seventy million Americans suffer from some form of cardiovascular ailment. This development is fostering a high demand for cardiac nurse specialists in the health care industry.

Educational Requirements

Registered nurses with an educational background of at least a bachelors or masters degree in nursing can enroll themselves in a Master of Science in cardiovascular clinical nurse specialization program. Those interested in pursuing an advanced level of education in this field can opt for a cardiology Nurse Practitioner Fellowship program or a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program with a specialization in Cardiology. Educational prerequisites vary depending upon the degree program. Applicants are required to have a bachelor's degree with an above average GPA, good scores in GRE or GMAT, admission essays and recommendation letters. Doctoral programs take into consideration interview performance as well. Most programs impart practical cardiac skills through a clinical component requirement that comprises of around 600 hours of clinical practice. After completing the master's program, students can apply for certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine to become certified cardiac nurse specialists.

Program Overview

A cardiac nurse specialist courses specifically focus on cardiology. The fundamental study areas include theory of cardiovascular diseases and diagnostic techniques. The coursework will include an understanding of traditional as well as contemporary methods of treatment and medication. Students will also be analyzing the primary risk factors of cardiovascular diseases like hypertension, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes. They are also acquainted with critical care procedures and practices. Cardiac nurses are also familiarized with the impact that age and ethnic background have on the cardiac health of different patients. Some other courses studied are:
  • Epidemiology
  • Risk assessment
  • Advanced adult cardiovascular nursing
  • Pediatric heart health
  • Electrocardiography and ECG interpretation
  • cardiac risk reduction
  • physiology of Stress
  • ECG interpretation

Job Responsibilities

The coursework is designed to prepare students for the job responsibilities that they are likely to face during their employment. Cardiac nurses must be able to work as part of a team. Coordination and communication with surgeons and physicians is an integral part of their practice. They must also be able to work and think practically and efficiently under high pressure situations requiring critical decisions. Other responsibilities include constant monitoring of vital signs, administration of cardiac medications, documentation of reports and patient records, and knowledge of defibrillator operation. More importantly nurses are encouraged to cultivate a nurturing and positive patient-focused attitude to address both physical and psychological needs of the patients.

Employment Opportunities

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), cardiac nurse practitioners can earn from $67,000 to $93,000 per year. However the annual wage is determined by a variety of other factors like educational qualification, experience, and employment location. Employment in this field is expected to grow by 21% through 2008 to 2018. Students with this qualification can find employment in various healthcare settings like lipid clinics, hospitals, heart failure clinics, nursing homes and outpatient diagnostic testing centers.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

The first step to becoming a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner is to complete a 4-year long Bachelor of Science (B.S.N) in Nursing, after which candidates will be required to appear for the NCLEX-RN exam. After clearing the state license exam, individuals will have to work for a couple of years as a Registered Nurse, preferably in cardiovascular settings. After working in the field for some time, individuals can pursue a 2-year long Master of Science (M.S) in Nursing and top it up with a 6-month long Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing. After gaining relevant knowledge, they will then have to appear for the cardiac-vascular nursing test, which is administered by ANCC.

What Are the Requirements to Become a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

Students enrolled in the Graduate Certificate in Cardiovascular Nursing have to complete around 12 credits, which includes credit hours for both online classes and clinical practicum experiences. They have to study a variety of topics such as Foundations of Cardiovascular Care, Advanced Nursing Practice, Management and Care of Cardiac Dysrhythmias, and Diagnosis and Management of Chronic and Acute Cardiac Disorders. After completing the required Continuing Education hours in cardiac specialty, students have to clear the cardiac-vascular nursing test. Only after clearing this exam, individuals can start their careers as Cardiac Nurse Practitioners.

How Much Can I Make after Becoming a Cardiac Nurse Practitioner?

 O*Net Online reports that Nurse Practitioners made an annual median income of $107,030 in 2018. As the incidence of heart diseases is constantly rising, and has become the leading cause of death in the US, there is a constant need for qualified Cardiac Nurse Practitioners. Job outlook data indicates towards a positive growth trend – it has been predicted that job opportunities in this field will rise by 11% or higher from 2018 to 2028. Hence, it’s a good time to start a career in this field.

Frequently Asked Question(s)

Q:What are the benefits of acquiring cardiac nurse specialist education online?

A:If you wish to acquire cardiac nurse specialist education online, you can avail several benefits. Online programs are flexible and convenient for students. Students are able to make their own schedule and study at their own pace. These programs are also ideal for working professionals who cannot keep up with fixed schedules and travelling requirements of on campus programs. Besides, they are cost effective, as you do not incur travelling or hostel accommodation costs.

Q:Can you tell me about the cardiac nurse specialist responsibilities?

A:The responsibilities of cardiac nurse specialist can vary a bit depending on the location of practice. However, major duties include checking a patient's vital signs, maintaining a medical record, helping in diagnosis, and giving suggestions about lifestyle, medical and dietary issues. They also develop and follow a treatment plan, write prescriptions, and dispense medications.

Q:Can cardiac nurse specialist job description vary according to the location of practice?

A:Yes, the cardiac nurse specialist job description can slightly vary depending on the location of practice. However, some duties and responsibilities are same for all cardiac nurse specialists. These duties include checking a patient's vital signs, helping in diagnosis, maintaining a medical record and giving suggestions about lifestyle, medical and dietary issues.

Q:What are the responsibilities of a cardiac nurse specialist?

A:A cardiac nurse specialist is a trained professional who provide patients with cardiovascular care. The main responsibilities of these nurses include: diagnosing and assessing patients with cardiovascular illnesses, developing treatment plans, assisting physicians, administering medication, helping patients prepare for tests, monitoring vital signs, and more. Browse through our page for more information.

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