Registered nurses rarely have a difficult time finding a job. There are a few nursing specialties that an RN can almost name their price. One of those specialties is the Cardiac Cath Lab. A cardiac cath lab requires a specially trained nurse to assist in procedures performed in the lab. Due to the specialized training, there is a very high demand for them.
As hospitals obtain trauma certification as well as vascular certification the number of labs has begun to increase. One of the requirements for a cath lab is to have a full team of trained nurses to be fully operational.
What does a cardiac cath lab nurse do?
As a cath lab nurse, you would assist the team in performing cardiac catheterizations. You would perform pre-procedure exams and monitor the patient during and after the procedure. The RN also administers medications during the procedure and assist in any other way the team needs.
This list is what the American Nurses Association and Society for Vascular Nursing list as tasks generally perform by a cath lab RN:
- Administer patient medications as ordered
- Document patient and procedure information in the patient chart
- Assist in interventional procedures
- Document patient vital signs
- Monitor patient sedation levels during and after the procedure
- Be prepared for emergency situations
- Examination of the patient pre and post-catheterization
- Circulate and scrub during cardiac catheterization and electrophysiology procedures
- Assist in diagnostic procedures
- Ensure consent paperwork is accurately completed
- Discharge teaching with patients and families including procedural, medications, activities, and dietary
- Prepare patients for procedures
What is the salary for cardiac cath lab nurses?
Because of the specialization of these RNs, it is not likely that another nurse can substitute for them from another unit. The specialization drives the hourly wage higher than nurses and other subspecialties. Cath lab nurses earn an average wage of $36.92 per hour or $76,793 per year according to Chron. On the low end, nurses earn approximately $19.32 per hour or $40,144 per year. The highest paid wages of this specialty were $70.15 per hour or $145,912 per year.
If you are a travel nurse working on an hourly basis you can possibly earn overtime pay. If you are working as a salaried employee you would need to negotiate the issue of any overtime and/or on-call pay.
Overall, pay will correlate with the cost of living in the area you choose to work. You may know pay in some geographical areas where the cost of living is higher you will see a higher hourly rate of pay.
Many jobs in the nursing field have an increase in pay with additional education and nursing experience. Certification is not always required but can give you a bump in your paycheck.
What certifications are needed?
If you are working in this field you will be expected to maintain your RN licensure. You will also need to maintain Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)as a minimum. Check for other certifications required by hospitals.
- Maintain a current, active RN license.
- Have 2 years of full-time experience as a registered nurse.
- A minimum of 2,000 hours of clinical practice in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.
- 30 hours of continuing education in cardiac-vascular nursing within the last 3 years.
A cardiac disease now accounts for about a quarter of all deaths in the United States. As the baby boomer generation ages, we see a rise of sedentary behavior and poor diets, the number of cath lab procedures is increasing each year. Nurses are more in demand now than ever.
For more information on the growing demand for Cath Lab Nurses check the article at Nurse.org.