To become a cardiovascular nurse in the United States you will need to become a Registered Nurse (RN) by passing a national licensing exam and hold a two-year degree from an accredited college or a diploma earned through a hospital program. You could increase the opportunities for you to become a cardiovascular nurse by earning a four-year degree known as a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or the higher Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). Most employers require at least two years of experience working as a registered nurse, as many as 2,000 hours of clinical practice in cardiovascular nursing and additional training in the specialty. There also is certification available to help in your preparation to become a cardiovascular nurse; certification is required in some states but is only recommended in others. In countries other than the U.S., many of the requirements to become a cardiovascular nurse will be similar, but you should contact your local nursing agency to find out the specifics.
In the U.S., the American Nurses Credentialing Center requires you to complete continuing education in the specialty and to have at least 2,000 hours of clinical experience before you can take the exam for certification. Your opportunities to become a cardiovascular nurse can vary greatly depending on the region in which you live and the facility for which you want to work. It generally is a good idea to consider the specific qualifications and requirements in your state and for the facility where you want to work, unless you wish to be highly employable in the field regardless of your location.
Cardiovascular nurses are also referred to as a cardiac/vascular nurses in some regions. They assist in the treatment of patients suffering from heart disease, any type of heart failure, vascular disease and angina, which is pain in the chest. If you become a cardiovascular nurse, you might also be required to assist in heart surgery, including transplants; to help cardiologists develop a plan of treatment for a patient's care; and to educate patients about their health condition. A cardiovascular nurse also can be instrumental in educating people on how to prevent heart problems through proper diet and exercise. He or she is an asset in the education of people who are not patients when teaching them how to manage existing problems.
Some things that should be considered in your decision to become a cardiovascular nurse are the high levels of stress that you might have to withstand. These health care providers work in the intensive care unit of hospitals and in nursing homes, and they even provide care in a patient's home or a senior residence. Heart disease is not limited to affecting the mature population; very young children could be among your patients if they were born with a heart condition or suffered physical trauma to the heart or blood vessels.