Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse

Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse Are in Demand

What does the CCL nurse do?

Nurses who work in the cardiac catheterization lab (CCL) will assist the doctor in performing interventional procedures like cardiac catheterizations, valvuloplasties, and angioplasties. Other procedures include inserting pacemakers and implantable cardioverter-defirbrillators (ICDs).

As an advocate for the patient, the nurse will greet the patient when they first come into the cath lab. He or she will answer questions and educate the patient about what is planned and make sure they have informed consent. Vital signs, oxygen, and heart rhythm are monitored continuously, and IVs and medicines are given per the doctor’s order.
When the procedure is over, the nurse will stay with the patient until they are recovered and ready to return to the floor. The nurse will go with the patient by stretcher to the floor and give the receiving nurse report before returning to the cath lab.

Education

A registered nurse (RN) may be required to possess a BSN, but not always. New graduates are commonly asked to work on the general floor, CCU, ICU, or a cardiac floor of a hospital before being accepted as a CCL nurse. The nurse will need specialized skills and training in advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), reading of EKGs, and strong cardiac medication knowledge. Since working in the cath lab takes skills the general floor nurse may not yet possess, this training is part of the orientation package of the employee. Patient’s can code with little advance warning and the nurse needs the skills and experience to act without hesitation.

The Workplace

Nurses in the cath lab work in larger medical facilities throughout the country. Smaller rural hospitals do not have the facilities, equipment, or qualified staff, to perform the specialized procedures. When someone in a small hospital needs interventional procedures, they are sent to a larger hospital by ambulance or helicopter.

The nurse will work 8 to 12 hours per day. Since these procedures are sometimes done when there is an emergency, being on-call during the evening and night is commonly required. Working weekends and holidays is also part of the job. Both male and female nurses work with doctor in this advanced area.

Salary

The nurse’s salary varies from state to state, and city to city. Generally the pay range is $22 to $40 per hour. The higher end wage is typically seen in travel nursing where a skilled nurse is needed quickly to fill a need for a specified amount of time, frequently 13 to 26 weeks. A newer nurse in a hospital may begin at the lower end of pay scale as regular staff.

Similar Types of Nurses

Nurses who work in cardiac areas like the coronary care unit, intensive care unit, and the cardiac step-down units have similar skills. Other similar areas involve nurses who assist with open heart surgery, recovery, and the emergency room. Nurses who work as cardiac instructors also need knowledge in this area.

Becoming a CCL nurse will provide valuable and marketable skills that will carry over into almost any nursing position. This specialized and highly skilled area will bring satisfaction to the nurse as the patient is cared for during this often stressful time.