Cardiac nursing, also known as cardiovascular nursing, is a specialty within the profession of nursing that assists in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, or heart problems. Patients under the care of cardiac nursing have undergone angioplasty, stents, bypass, valve replacement, pacemaker, or other cardiac procedures or suffer from angina, chest pain, or a variety of other conditions. These patients may be adults, infants, or children.
A main priority in the care of cardiac patients that falls within cardiac nursing is beginning cardiac rehabilitation and providing education to assist the patient in maintaining a healthy lifestyle that will lessen the re-occurrence of cardiovascular disease. Cardiac wellness is promoted in the patients by teaching them how to decrease stress, eat healthy meals that are low-fat and low-cholesterol, exercise, and/or stop smoking. Cardiac nursing also involves working with the families of cardiac patients and may include working with the patients in the home and helping with cardiac drug monitoring.
Cardiac nursing often takes place in a demanding and high stress environment. Cardiac nurses work in many different settings, including a Coronary Care Unit (CCU), Cardiac Catheter Laboratory (CCL), Intensive Care Unit (ICU), Operating Theater, cardiac rehabilitation, research, and pre-operative and post-operative cardiac surgery.
A few abilities are key in cardiac nursing. These include the rapid interpretation of cardiac rhythms and elctrocardiographs (ECGs) and subsequent diagnosis and appropriate action taken for abnormalities. On a less technical side, cardiac nurses serve to ease anxiety in cardiac patients through education and attentive care.
With cardiac disease being the leading cause of death in the United States, the demand in the field of cardiac nursing is high and opportunities are virtually unlimited. While advances in cardiac procedures have improved recovery time and outcomes, cardiac nursing remains essential in the care of coronary heart disease patients.
If you want to start a career in cardiac nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)