I am anew grad and start orientation next week for a busy cardiac unit. I was wondering if any new and/or experienced RNs have any advice for this type of area. I will be working 12 hr days on a 38 bed unit. I am super excited to get started, but intimidated at the same time because I never thought of myself starting out here. The heart definetly intrigues me so I am excited to get the opportunity to learn more about it.
Thanks so much!!
Oct 26, '10
Try to be familiar with the commonly used cardiac meds, know the norms for labs especially K, Na, Ca, Mg, PT/INR, PTT. I imagine you will have critical care training along with general orientation. Know the common interventions for different rhythms. Come up with a good worksheet that helps keep you organized. Have note cards or little notebook in your pocket with info for quick reference, ie frequent phone ext., instructions for setting monitors, list of who's who. . . Have a good pair of shoes, fast paced, lots of walking! Do not hesitate to ask questions, gravitate to those nurses who are supportive. Last but not least, have a mantra you can use to help calm yourself when the going gets tough. Best of luck to you.
Oct 26, '10
Thank you Minnie2006! The manager told me it was very fast paced and I feel as though I should be studying!! I will have 1 week of hospital orientation, 1 week of nursing orientation, and then 6-8 weeks on the unit. You advice has been very helpful!
Oct 31, '10
I worked on a cardiac step down after graduating from RN school. I loved the cardiac ascept of it, but my unit was not well run. The manager and charge nurses were not very supportive... You will love it! I hope that you will be able to find some good nurses on your unit to mentor you.
Nov 4, '10
I went into Cardiac nursing right out of school (started summer 2009) I really enjoy it, I feel it's a great first step for me. I've gone thru basic arrhythmias and ACLS all paid for by the hospital! I've learned so much and I love knowing how to read rhythm strips too. I think the next step for me may be to an ICU eventually, but I'm not ready just yet.
Nov 13, '10
Congrats! I started my cardiac nursing career right out of school and it is a passion of mine. I recommend to study! As someone suggested, have cheat sheets of rhythms, medications...AV Heart blocks, VT, a fib with RVR, etc. Review your cardiac medication profiles in your pharmacy book and read up on cardiac disease processes...Acute coronary syndrome and MI, CHF, pulm HTN, etc. Try to fully analyze your patients' rhythm strips each shift...PRI, QRS, QT, regularity, rhythm, etc. Always ask a senior nurse or MD if you have any questions. You can learn a lot. I also recommend taking ACLS within the first year (and actually reading the book and studying for it!!) and see if your educator offers a 12 lead EKG interpretation class. See if you can spend a day or two in the cardiac cath lab.
I think it is also a good idea to get a subscription to a nursing magazine or journal. Nursing 2010 is great for new nurses and may often contain cardiac nursing articles.
Have fun!! I hope you find an opportunity to transition to a CCU if you really find that you enjoy cardiac nursing!
Nov 13, '10
I too am starting on a cardiac unit in a few weeks right out of school; this is great advice and motivates me to study! Thanks all
Nov 14, '10
Sorry I haven't been on here to give my thanks to you all....so THANK YOU!! I started orientation last week and have been busy! This week will be my last of classroom stuff, so I'll start on the unit the 22nd.
Aymese, thanks so much! We actually have to take ACLS within a year of hire. Our first day on the unit is spent rotating through the cath lab, ER, and telemetry room, as well as, sitting in with the coordianator and along side the unit secretary. I have already taken a basic EKG interpretation class, however it did not cover 12-lead so I'll look into that.
LaurenicoleRN, the manager and assistant manager seem great. I am very excited to get to work with them. Their unit has a low turn over rate for nurses so that gives me hope the people are happy!
Nov 16, '10
Congrats and good luck!! It looks like everyone already said what I was going to say. Take your ACLS and 12-lead EKG interpretation, know your labs as Minnie2006 indicated, know where your crash cart is!!, get a good pair of shoes, and a mentor or two. Knowledge on temporary invasive pacing, cardiac drips, emergency standing orders, and chest tubes would be a good idea.