Heart problems, or cardiac problems, have been the leading cause of death throughout the world for decades. The American Heart Association (AHA) has even estimated that approximately a third of all deaths in 2007 in the United States alone were caused by cardiovascular disease.

There’s no doubt that diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system are both dangerous and deadly. Unfortunately, many patients may not comprehend the seriousness of their conditions until it’s too late. Proper medical care and lifestyle changes after a cardiac incident, however, can help lower the risk of additional problems in the future. Cardiac rehabilitation nurses play an integral role in caring for and assisting patients who are recovering from and managing their cardiovascular problems.

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What is a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse?
What do Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurses Do?
Where do Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurses Work?
How do I Become a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse?

What is a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse?

A cardiac rehabilitation nurse assists and treats cardiac patients who are recovering from or trying to manage cardiovascular disease. These dedicated nurses typically attempt to guide patients down a more heart healthy path in order to lower the risk of heart problems in the future.

Along with being a medical professional, you will also have several other roles as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse. For instance, you must be prepared to educate, advise, guide, and support patients as well as treat them. You should also have excellent communication skills and a general passion for healthy living.

Some cardiac patients are somewhat resistant to some of the treatments and lifestyle change recommendations that cardiac rehabilitation nurses and their colleagues present to them. For this reason, you should also be prepared to put your persuasion skills to the test as well. Despite how much some patients may protest, you must be able and willing to do your best to explain the benefits of any treatments and lifestyle changes.

Because the field of cardiology is growing in leaps and bounds every day, cardiac rehabilitation nurses should have an interest in research as well. They should be able to stay abreast of the latest trends and breakthroughs in cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation to ensure that their patients get the best treatment possible.

What do Cardiac Nurses Do?

One of the main responsibilities of a cardiac rehabilitation nurse is to assist cardiologists with the treatment of patients that are suffering from, recovering from, or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. These duties may range from helping patients with medications to assisting during cardiovascular surgical procedures.

A cardiac rehabilitation nurse is also often charged with closely monitoring and testing cardiac patients as well. For example, these cardiac nursing professionals may assist patients during stress tests and monitor their vital signs, such as heart rate, heart rhythm, respiratory rate, blood oxygen levels, and blood pressure.

Possibly the most successful method for beating cardiovascular disease in most cases is making positive lifestyle changes. Cardiac rehabilitation nurses will help patients make the necessary changes that could very well prolong their lives. They may assist them with tasks such as quitting smoking, reducing stress levels, and setting up an exercise regimen, for instance. They will also usually assist patients and their loved ones with meal planning, and dole out advice on how to eat more nutritious wholesome foods and maintain a healthy weight.

Where do Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Work?

As a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, you’ll most likely find that there is no shortage of positions in cardiac nursing. Hospitals, cardiology practices, clinics, and community health centers are commonly on the lookout for skilled and knowledgeable nursing professionals. Some fitness centers and gyms might also hire cardiac rehabilitation nurses as well.

How do I Become a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse?

Employers looking to hire cardiac nurses are typically looking for registered nurses with a minimum of a bachelor’s degree under their belts. However, a higher nursing level or additional education, particularly a master’s degree with a specialization in cardiology, will make you a more suitable candidate and may possibly even be required.

Below is the educational path for a Cardiac Nurse (lowest to highest level of education)

Educational TrackSchool ProgramsAverage Education LengthChoosing Online or Campus
Earn a Bachelors DegreeView Programs4 Years Online or Campus
Earn a MSN DegreeView Programs2 Additional YearsOnline or Campus
Earn a PHD or DNPView Programs2-4 Additional YearsOnline or Campus

After you’ve worked as a registered nurse for at least two years and have gained a minimum of 2,000 hours of cardiovascular nursing experience, you can then become certified. In order to do this, you must pass a Cardiac-Vascular Nursing certification examination, which is administered by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.

Further Resources For Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurses

  1. Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association
  2. American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation
  3. American Heart Association
  4. Cardio Source
  5. Journal of Cardiology