Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Role
A cardiac-vascular nurse practitioner’s duties include in-depth cardiovascular assessments, working closely with physicians and providing health education to patients and families. Assessing patients for acute and chronic illness, managing those illnesses with medications and other treatments and monitoring for results are among the responsibilities. Cardiac-vascular nurse practitioners also are responsible for interpreting lab work data, radiology and other test data, and acting on those findings.
Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Scope of Practice
Cardiac-vascular nurse practitioners deal with patient populations that are experiencing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and arrhythmias (irregularities in heart rate). Cardiac-vascular nurse practitioners may work in a variety of settings, including private practice cardiology offices, family medicine or acute-care clinics and hospitals. New and evolving cardiac techniques make this field more challenging than ever, and advanced practice RNs play a key role in bringing quality cardiac care to patients in underserved, rural and urban settings.
Cardiac Vascular Nurse Practitioner Salary
On average, cardiac vascular nurse practitioners can expect to make around $105,000 a year working in cardiology clinics. A number of factors influence cardiac nurse practitioner salary, including education and training, geographic location and work setting.
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How to Become a Cardiac Nurse
While there is no certification for cardiac nurse practitioners, cardiac nursing positions require nurses who have advanced practice experience in cardiac nursing. An RN-BC for cardiac-vascular nursing can be earned from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). Those interested in advanced practice cardiac-vascular nursing also should enroll in a nurse practitioner program with a cardiac subspecialty.
Cardiac-Vascular Nursing Eligibility Requirements
- Become a registered nurse. In order to apply to a family nurse practitioner program, one must have completed a degree in registered nursing and be certified as a registered nurse in a U.S. state or territory. Passing the NCLEX-RN examination is required for certification as a registered nurse.
- Practice as an RN for two years, work 2,000 hours in cardiac-vascular nursing within three years, and complete 30 continuing education hours in cardiac-vascular nursing within three years.
- Apply to take the cardiac-vascular nursing exam administered by the ANCC to earn cardiac-vascular nursing certification. More information about certification can be found at the bottom of this page.
- Apply for state certification as a cardiac-vascular nurse in the state in which you wish to practice. Go to our state certification pages to find out the requirements and how to apply. Many applications can be submitted online.
- Certification must be renewed every five years. In addition to renewing certification through the board, renewal through the state is also required and additional fulfillment of continuing education contact hours may be necessary.
Nurse Practitioner Eligibility Requirements
- Apply to nurse practitioner programs that are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) or the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and have a cardiac subspecialty of concentration. These programs must be master’s, postgraduate or doctoral programs. More information on nurse practitioner programs and coursework requirements can be found below.
- Complete 500 faculty-supervised clinical hours related to the nurse practitioner role and population, focusing in the cardiac subspecialty.
Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Programs
The first step to becoming a cardiac-vascular nurse practitioner is to obtain a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Bachelor-prepared registered nurses are now recommended as a necessity by several professional nursing organizations. Because nurse practitioner programs are part of graduate training for nurses, applicants must hold at least a BSN and two years of recent experience in caring for patients with cardiac and vascular conditions before applying for a master’s in nursing or doctoral (DNP or Ph.D.) program.
In some cases, a “cardiac nurse practitioner program” may be difficult to locate—some schools will offer acute care nurse practitioner programs with an emphasis in cardiology. These programs will provide students with courses in statistics, ethics, research, pharmacology and advanced assessment for all adults and also offer focused cardiovascular courses. Applicants should expect to complete 50 credits or more and at least 600 clinical hours to complete the program.
After graduation, the RN will be required to take an exam administered by the ANCC. National exam prerequisites include completion of 30 continuing education credits related to cardiac-vascular nursing in addition to practicing as an RN for a two-year period in full-time capacity with 2,000 hours of practice in cardiac-vascular nursing in a three-year period.
ANCC credentialing is valid for five years and must be maintained by re-examination or completion of 1,000 hours of cardiac nursing as well as 75 hours of continuing education as required by the ANCC. Additional requirements may be needed, and the nurse practitioner should review the requirements periodically.
Depending on the path chosen, it may take two to four years to complete the candidate’s initial nursing degree. RNs who enroll in a cardiac-vascular nurse practitioner education program can expect to spend two years, or slightly more, in classroom and clinical time. The number of credit hours the student carries and other commitments can influence training time, and attending on a part-time basis will significantly impact time to degree completion. Students interested in part-time attendance should check with their institution to see if the option is available.
Online Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Programs
For working registered nurses who do not want to put their careers on pause or uproot their lives to attend an on-campus program at a university far from where they live, online nurse practitioner programs with a concentration in cardiology can be a flexible and high-quality option. When looking for an online nurse practitioner program, make sure that it offers interactive features such as live classes, rigorous coursework and excellent placement services that will help you get the most out of your education. Some universities offer online programs that are identical to their on-campus programs, allowing students to earn a degree from a university they know and whose reputation they trust, without having to relocate. Online programs are growing in popularity and are a great way to become a cardiac nurse practitioner.
Cardiac Nurse Practitioner Certification
American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Type of Certification: RN-BC
Eligibility Requirements: Nurses must currently hold an active registered nurse license, have practiced as a registered nurse full time for two years, have a minimum of 2,000 hours clinical experience in a cardiovascular nursing setting within the last three years, and have completed 30 hours of continuing education in cardiovascular nursing in the past three years.
Certification Process: Nurses can apply online through the ANCC’s website or mail in an application. They must then sit for the Cardiac-Vascular Nurse certification exam.
Fees:$395 initial certification fee for non-members; $340 for Society for Vascular Nursing and Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association members and American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation Members; $270 for American Nurses Association members.
Renewal: Certification must be renewed every five years. Nurses must complete 1,000 hours of work in cardiovascular nursing and 75 hours of continuing education. In addition, cardiac vascular nurses must perform other professional development requirements, such as research or academic credits.
Learn about other advanced practice nursing specialties.
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