Career Development

What Does a Cardiac Icu Nurse Do?

Learn more about what it takes to succeed as a cardiac ICU nurse, the skills you'll need to become one, and what you can expect on the job.

Cardiac intensive care nurses are responsible for the care of patients who are experiencing heart problems. They monitor their patients’ vital signs and symptoms, administer treatments as ordered by a physician, and provide emotional support to both the patient and their family members.

Cardiac Icu Nurse Job Duties

Cardiac ICU nurses have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Performing diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, stress tests, Holter monitors, and other tests to evaluate heart function
  • Evaluating patient’s physical condition, vital signs, and overall health status
  • Recording medical histories, including family health problems and current medications
  • Preparing patients for surgery by shaving hair from surgical sites, sterilizing skin, or applying preoperative medications
  • Providing emotional support to patients, families, and visitors
  • Administering intravenous medications or performing other nursing duties to assist in the treatment of patients with cardiac problems
  • Performing diagnostic tests such as electrocardiograms (EKGs), echocardiograms (ECHOs), stress tests, Holter monitors, and other tests to evaluate heart function
  • Educating patients about their condition and treatment options
  • Coordinating care with other healthcare providers, including physicians and surgeons

Cardiac Icu Nurse Salary & Outlook

Cardiac icu nurses’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the size of the hospital or medical facility they work for, and the geographic location of their job.

  • Median Annual Salary: $76,500 ($36.78/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $122,000 ($58.65/hour)

The employment of cardiac icu nurses is expected to grow faster than average over the next decade.

Demand for cardiac intensive care unit (cicu) services will increase as the large baby-boom population ages and people live longer with chronic conditions, such as heart disease. In addition, demand for cicu services will continue to increase as hospitals seek to improve quality of care by reducing patient readmissions and complications.

Related: Cardiac Icu Nurse Interview Questions and Answers

Cardiac Icu Nurse Job Requirements

A cardiac Icu nurse typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Cardiac intensive care nurses are required to have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The coursework for this degree will include classes in anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, pathophysiology, health assessment and nursing.

Training & Experience: Cardiac Icu nurses receive most of their training through their educational programs. They also receive on-the-job training from experienced nurses or cardiac technicians. This training helps the cardiac Icu nurse learn how to use the equipment and perform the necessary procedures.

Certifications & Licenses: In addition to the required nursing license, cardiac ICU nurses can further their education by earning a specialty certification.

Cardiac Icu Nurse Skills

Cardiac Icu nurses need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the act of conveying information to others. As a cardiac icu nurse, you may be required to communicate with patients, other medical professionals and family members of patients. This requires you to have excellent verbal and written communication skills. You may also be required to communicate medical information to patients in a way that is easy to understand.

Critical thinking: Critical thinking is the ability to make quick decisions based on the information you have. As a cardiac ICU nurse, you may need to make quick decisions about patient care. For example, if a patient’s heart rate increases, you may need to make a decision about whether to administer a medication or call a doctor.

Empathy: Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. As a cardiac icu nurse, empathy is an important skill to have when caring for patients. You may be the first person to notice a patient’s pain or discomfort and you can use empathy to help them feel heard and understood. You can also use empathy to help patients and their families feel comfortable and supported during a challenging time.

Organization: Cardiac intensive care unit nurses must be organized to ensure they are able to provide the best care for their patients. This includes keeping their work area clean and organized, keeping track of their patients’ medical records and knowing the treatment plans for each patient.

Teamwork: Cardiac intensive care unit nurses work in teams with other medical professionals, such as doctors, surgeons, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and other nurses. Working as a team allows them to provide the best care for their patients.

Cardiac Icu Nurse Work Environment

Cardiac ICU nurses work in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. They are responsible for the care of critically ill patients who are suffering from heart problems. Cardiac ICU nurses must be able to make quick decisions and be able to handle a high level of stress. They work long hours, often 12-hour shifts, and may be required to work overtime. Cardiac ICU nurses are also required to be on call, which means they may be called into work at any time.

Cardiac Icu Nurse Trends

Here are three trends influencing how cardiac ICU nurses work. Cardiac ICU nurses will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Patient Advocates

As the healthcare industry becomes more complex, the need for patient advocates will continue to grow. This is because patients are often left to fend for themselves in a system that can be difficult to navigate.

Cardiac icu nurses can take advantage of this trend by becoming patient advocates. This involves helping patients understand their options and advocating on their behalf when necessary. In doing so, cardi icu nurses can help ensure that patients get the care they need.

The Importance of Teamwork

The importance of teamwork is a trend that is being seen across all industries. As businesses become more globalized, it is increasingly important for employees to work together as a team in order to be successful.

This trend is especially true in the healthcare industry, where teams of professionals are needed to provide high-quality care to patients. Cardiac icu nurses can utilize this trend by working with other members of the team to create a positive environment for patients and staff alike.

Patient Satisfaction Becomes More Important

As patient satisfaction becomes more important, hospitals and clinics are looking for nurses who have experience in caring for patients in cardiac intensive care units (ICUs).

Cardiac ICU nurses are responsible for providing critical care to patients who are experiencing heart problems. They must be able to quickly assess situations and make decisions based on the patient’s condition. In addition, they must be able to communicate effectively with other members of the medical team.

How to Become a Cardiac Icu Nurse

A cardiac Icu nurse has a rewarding career ahead of them. They will be able to help patients recover from heart attacks and other cardiac conditions, which is an important role that can make a big difference in someone’s life.

To become a cardiac Icu nurse, you will need to have a nursing degree and certification in critical care nursing. You will also need to be familiar with the equipment used in the intensive care unit (ICU) and know how to use it properly.

Advancement Prospects

Cardiac ICU nurses may advance to positions such as clinical nurse specialist, nurse practitioner, or nurse anesthetist. Some cardiac ICU nurses become certified in critical care nursing and then move into management positions. Many cardiac ICU nurses return to school to earn a master’s degree in nursing, which may lead to advancement in their careers.

Cardiac Icu Nurse Job Description Example

The Cardiac ICU at [CompanyX] is a fast-paced, high-pressure environment where lives are on the line every day. We’re looking for an experienced cardiac ICU nurse to join our team and provide the highest level of care to our patients. The ideal candidate will have at least 2 years of experience in a cardiac ICU setting, as well as experience with ventilators, defibrillators, and other critical care equipment. He or she will be able to work independently and make quick decisions in a high-pressure environment. The most successful candidate will be a team player with excellent communication and bedside manner.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Provide direct patient care to cardiac patients in the ICU setting
  • Monitor and interpret cardiac rhythms
  • Administer medications and therapies prescribed by the physician
  • Assist with procedures such as intubation, cardioversion, and pacing
  • Educate patients and families on disease process, treatments, and discharge planning
  • Serve as a resource to other members of the healthcare team
  • Maintain accurate documentation of patient care
  • Participate in quality improvement initiatives
  • Collaborate with physicians and other members of the multidisciplinary team to develop individualized care plans
  • Promote a positive working environment
  • Demonstrate professional accountability and growth
  • Serve as a preceptor for new staff and students

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Registered Nurse (RN) with valid state license
  • Bachelor’s degree in nursing or related field
  • 3+ years of experience in a cardiac ICU setting
  • Current CPR certification
  • ACLS certification
  • PALS certification

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • 5+ years of experience in a cardiac ICU setting
  • CCRN certification
  • Experience with ventilators, telemetry, and other medical equipment
  • Strong leadership skills


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