Cardiology Nurse: Salary, Job Duties and Requirements

Cardiology nurses are registered nurses who have specialized graduate education or clinical experience in cardiovascular medicine. They treat and educate patients regarding cardiovascular health and issues. They may pursue voluntary credentialing in their field.

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Salaries for Cardiology Nurses

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) doesn't maintain data specifically for cardiology nurses. However, it reported that, as of May 2012, the median annual wage of registered nurses in general was $65,470 (www.bls.gov). The lowest-paid 10% earned around $45,000 or less per year, while the highest-paid 10% earned over $94,000 annually at that time. Wages vary with level of education and experience.

Nurses in employment services and surgical hospitals tended to make more on average than nurses in private practice or in-home services in 2012, according to the BLS. The BLS reported that job opportunities all across the nursing field were expected to be excellent from 2010-2020, increasing by 26% over the decade.

Job Duties

Cardiology nurses diagnose and treat conditions that affect the pulmonary or cardiovascular systems. They may focus on preventative medicine and patient education or assist with diagnostics, such as electrocardiograms and other specialized tests.

Cardiology nurses may take on a variety of roles. At the advanced level, clinical nurse specialists work in hospitals and other medical facilities, conducting research and taking a lead in patient education and preventative techniques. Registered nurses treat and educate patients in a clinical setting, keeping records of medical histories and performing diagnostics. They work with patients and their families to teach them how to manage cardiovascular disease, educate them on dietary and other measures of minimizing heart risk and help patients with postoperative rehabilitation.

Requirements for Becoming a Cardiology Nurse

Education Requirements

The most common way to pursue a nursing education is to obtain a 4-year bachelor's or 2-year associate degree in nursing at a college or university, though a Bachelor of Science in Nursing is recommended for advancement. Nursing education involves a combination of classroom experience and supervised clinical experience.

Licensure and Certification

After graduation, prospective nurses must sit for the National Council Licensure Examination, or NCLEX-RN, in order to obtain a registered nursing license. Nurses interested in specializing in cardiology may apply for voluntary certification with the American Nurses Credentialing Center or the American Board of Cardiovascular Medicine. Requirements for certification include active RN licensure, with at least two years of RN experience and 2,000 hours of clinical cardiac nursing experience. If applicants meet these requirements, they may sit for an exam and become board-certified.

Advancement in Cardiovascular Nursing

Becoming an advanced practice cardiology nurse involves obtaining a Master of Science in Nursing in the specialty field of cardiac nursing. Options include cardiac nurse practitioner and cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist programs. Coursework is augmented with a practicum and a residency in cardiac nursing, providing hands-on experience working with cardiac patients.

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

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