An individual who wants to become a cardiac nurse usually completes the training required to become a registered nurse and then goes on to seek additional training in cardiac care. Typically this requires the completion of an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree, or diploma in nursing. After graduating from a nursing program, a prospective cardiac nurse usually goes on to take a licensing exam and become a registered nurse. Finally, he continues with specialty training courses and eventually obtains certification in cardiac nursing.
A person who opts to become a cardiac nurse works with patients who need cardiac care. Working under the supervision of a physician, this nurse provides treatment and support to patients who have heart-related conditions or heart disease. A person in this field may also administer medications, keep patient records, and answer any care-related questions a patient or his family may have. This type of nurse may care for patients who are receiving medications as treatment as well as those who have undergone surgery.
After completing high school or earning a General Educational Development (GED) diploma, a person who wants to become a cardiac nurse usually takes one of three paths to becoming a registered nurse. He may enroll in an associate's or bachelor’s degree program to become a registered nurse, or he may enter a diploma program in nursing instead. Those who opt to secure associate’s degrees or diplomas in nursing may complete the required education in a couple of years. Those who opt to earn bachelor’s degrees will usually need about four years to finish school if they attend full time. After earning a nursing degree or completing a diploma program, a prospective cardiac nurse then goes on to take the nurse licensing exam and become a registered nurse.
After becoming a registered nurse, a person who wants to become a cardiac nurse usually seeks additional training in his cardiac specialty. An aspiring cardiac nurse may find cardiac-related courses at a nursing school or choose to sign up for cardiac seminars. There are even some nursing programs that allow aspiring nurses to focus on the cardiac specialty while studying to become a registered nurse, eliminating or reducing the need for additional training. The level of education a person needs in the cardiac specialty depends on the requirements of his particular jurisdiction.
In most places, a cardiac nurse will need certification in such things as basic life support and cardiac vascular nursing. Often, certification requirements include a couple of years of nursing experience and the completion of continuing education credits. For this reason, many people work in nursing for at least two years, gaining experience, before they seek certification.