Cardiac rehabilitation nurses provide counseling, education, and physical care for patients who have heart problems. They help people develop safe, healthy diet and exercise routines in order to recover from or prevent surgical procedures. A person who wants to become a cardiac rehabilitation nurse typically needs to earn an associate's or bachelor's degree, pass a licensing exam, and gain one to two years of experience in a general nursing position. With the appropriate education and training, a professional may be able to become a cardiac rehabilitation nurse at a hospital, a physical therapy clinic, or a fitness center.
An individual who wants to become a cardiac rehabilitation nurse generally needs to be in good physical shape, both to fulfill the physical requirements of the job and to serve as a role model to patients. Expert knowledge of nutrition, exercise strategies, and the importance of smart lifestyle choices is essential to provide patients with the skills they need to overcome their health problems.
A two-year associate's degree and a one- to two-year practical internship are typically the minimum requirements to become a cardiac rehabilitation nurse. Many professionals decide to pursue bachelor's degrees in the field to learn more about the practice of rehabilitation nursing and improve their credentials. During nursing school, a student has the opportunity to learn about diseases and disorders that affect the heart and common treatment and rehabilitation strategies promoted by doctors.
After earning a degree, an individual can take a national licensing examination to earn registered nurse credentials. Depending on regional and specific hospital requirements, it may not be possible to become a cardiac rehabilitation nurse right away. Most new professionals begin their nursing careers in other settings, especially emergency rooms and critical care centers. A new nurse is generally exposed to a number of different types of patients and conditions to learn how to provide efficient, immediate care.
An experienced nurse can speak with hospital administrators and conduct Internet research to learn about the specific requirements to enter cardiac rehabilitation jobs in his or her region. Some regions require nurses to take training courses or pass additional licensing exams before they can work with cardiac patients. Voluntary certification is also available by many respected national organizations to help a nurse improve his or her chances of finding a job.
Most cardiac rehabilitation nursing positions are found at general hospitals and cardiac specialty clinics. Some nurses are able to obtain jobs outside of clinical settings, such as local gyms and fitness centers. With several years of experience and continuing education credits, a nurse may be able to advance to an administrative position where he or she can develop new workout strategies and patient education policies.