Career Profile: Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse

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cardiac nurse

Cardiac rehabilitation nurses play a key role in providing long-term care and assistance to patients recovering from cardiovascular problems.

For decades, diseases of the heart and cardiovascular system have been the leading cause of death around the world. In recent years, an increasingly sedentary lifestyle combined with unhealthy food choices have resulted in a huge spike in the number of people suffering from cardiac problems. Unfortunately, many individuals do not understand the seriousness of their conditions until it is too late. Proper medical care and lifestyle changes following a cardiac incident can do much to help thwart further complications.

Cardiac rehabilitation nurses assist, educate and guide patients throughout their journey to a healthier, happier heart.

Job description

As a cardiac rehabilitation nurse, one of your primary responsibilities would be to assist cardiologists in treating patients suffering from, recovering from, or at risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Duties in this role include:

  • Recording and monitoring basic vitals such as blood pressure, heart rate, blood oxygen levels, respiratory rate and heart rhythm
  • Performing and evaluating stress tests
  • Assisting with administering medications
  • Interpreting and reporting ECG tests
  • Providing help and support during cardiovascular surgical procedures
  • Post-surgical care

Lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, starting an exercise regiment, meal planning and taking steps to reduce stress levels are often the most effective for beating cardiovascular disease and prolonging lives. A big part of your job as a cardiac rehabilitation nurse will involve educating and assisting patients with making these positive lifestyle changes.

Work settings

Cardiac rehabilitation nurses are in high demand in hospitals, community health centers, cardiology clinics and even fitness centers and gyms.

Essential Skills & Attributes

Excellent communication skills and a general passion for healthy living are some of the attributes that are necessary for anyone who wants to pursue a career in cardiac rehab nursing. You will need all of these skills to advise, guide, educate and support patients and also to treat them.

Cardiac patients often tend to resist some of the treatment and lifestyle recommendations that are presented to them but despite all of their protests, you must be willing and able to do what it takes to explain the benefits of these changes and ensure that the patient follows through. Your patience and persuasion skills will often be tested in these situations so these are two more essential traits that you will need in this role.

With huge strides being make in field of cardiology every day, nurses in cardiac rehab should also have an interest in research to be able to stay abreast of the latest trends and breakthroughs in the field to ensure that their patients get the best treatment possible.

Education & Training

To work as a cardiac rehab nurse, you must have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and at least two years experience as an RN. As with most other specialties, a higher nursing level or a master’s degree with a specialization in cardiology, will increase your employment potential tremendously.

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Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training.

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