Cardiac Nurse Specialist Career

A cardiac nurse specialist is one example of an additional focus that a licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse can take. This specialty focuses on ailments in the cardiovascular system, specifically heart problems. Many patients with these ailments are elderly, but there are opportunities to interact with patients of all ages. If you enjoy helping individuals recover from severe illness and make better decisions in their long-term care, this career may be for you.

Job Description

The main duties of a cardiac nurse specialist focus around patient care. In this career, you will be expected to help develop and execute a plan of care that has been approved by a doctor. You will need to communicate with the patient and the patientís family. You will also need to maintain detailed records of each patientís recovery progress and setbacks when they occur. This career sometimes involves providing emergency care, and you will on occasion be expected to work with pacemakers, defibrillators, and other life-saving equipment.

Education and Training

A cardiac nurse specialist needs to have a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, and must have a registered nursing license. This means that the first step in entering this field is to gain all the required registration of any nurse, then pursue additional training in the cardiac specialty. A Master of Science in Nursing degree is helpful but not usually required. After obtaining a nursing degree, the next step is to pursue an Advanced Practice certificate in cardiac care. This involves experience with cardiac patients, a registration exam, letters of recommendation from colleagues who have seen you work, and a personal statement discussing your career goals.

Costs Involved

The highest cost involved in the cardiac nurse specialist career is pursuing a nursing degree. Tuition and materials can be quite expensive, and you should apply for any scholarships and other financial aid that can help you mitigate these costs. Following the completion of your degree and some time with the appropriate cardiac experience, you will need to complete a certification exam in order to qualify for entrance into this specialty. The certification exam needed to become a cardiac nurse specialist can cost up to $400. The exam must be retaken every five years in order to keep your certification current.

Funding and Scholarships

By filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, you will qualify for grants and other financial assistance that can help you with your tuition. When you enter the workforce, your hospital or medical institution may provide you with a continuing medical education budget that can be applied towards additional certification. An additional way to help fund your certification and gain other benefits is to join the American Nurses Association, or ANA. Membership in the ANA includes a discount on your cardiac specialty certification exam.

Job Openings and Opportunities

There are many opportunities available for a cardiac nurse specialist. The population of the United States is climbing and there are more elderly individuals than ever before. This means more cardiac issues arising, which makes nurses with a cardiac specialization very important. Your best chance for a job in this field is with a hospital, nursing home, or other care center. If you are interested in teaching others in this field, a medical university might be an excellent choice as well, as it will give you contact with patients while also allowing you to pass on your skills to others.

Salary

Cardiac nurse specialists make a higher salary than normal nurses due to their advanced training. Individuals in this position can expect to make a starting wage of $70,000 or more annually, depending on level of education and experience. Those with a great deal of training can expect a salary of over $100,000 annually. If you gain your specialization while already employed at a hospital, your salary will likely be based on your existing pay rate, with an increase due to the extra certification.

Career Outlook

The need for cardiac nurse specialists in the United States is growing. Over the next ten years, the nursing field in general is expected to grow by as much as 25%, and the need for nurse specialists is even higher. Having a specialty in cardiac care will open many doors for you, since the average level of cardiovascular health in America is decreasing as time goes on.

By becoming a cardiac nurse specialist, you will be entering a field that is in high demand and that pays very well. You will also have an opportunity to improve the cardiac health of your patients, giving them a chance to live longer, healthier lives.