Cath Lab

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    Ok I have debated on posting this because I feel like I know what the responses will be like but I am going to ask anyway. Please be kind.

    I am a new grad..graduated in December '11 and passed boards last month. I live in a pretty big city with several hospitals within 10 minutes of my apartment. Unfortunately there are several nursing schools in the area as well. That being said, I have applied for countless jobs in every hospital- Med/Surg, Tele, L&D, ICU, OR- days, nights...everything. I had 2 interviews with no luck because I dont have a BSN and many hospitals around here are now BSN-preferred.

    I ended up applying to a very small hospital about 30 minutes from where I live...about a month after applying I got a phone call for a interview in the Cath Lab. I have no experience as a nurse and eventually want to work in an ICU but I have read so many posts saying new grads should not go into Cath Lab. I wish I had the option to NOT take this job and hold off and find something else closer to home but I am 3 months out of graduating and my debt is increasing and I need a job. This job is M-F 6:30 to 3..no weekends and no holidays. I would gladly take a night shift working 12s ANYWHERE if someone would give me a job..It's not that I don't want this job in the cath lab but I am scared that I will get in over my head. I will be willing to study and my mom (who used to work as an RN in cath lab) is telling me that I can do it and it will help get a job in CCU or CTVU later on. She said she could help me prepare (she now works in CVOR) and says I should take the job if I am offered it. It pays well..orientation is 6 months or longer (until you feel able to take on the job without a preceptor).I just don't know much about Cath Lab and don't want to shoot myself in the foot and screw up.

    Has ANY new grads started in Cath Lab? Were you successful? Do you think it is possible to start in the cath lab and succeed or is there a possibility I could do well? I havent been offered the job but I have a feeling I will..just trying to prepare myself.
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  3. 7 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    If you're applying to ICUs why are you getting nervous about going into the cath lab?

    Just go, it sounds like a good job with a good orientation and it will certainly get you in the door.
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    well I had some ICU experience in nursing school (120 hour rotation) and I worked as a tech in ICU- I loved it. But Cath Lab usually requires an experienced cardiac nurse- a few years of telemetry or ICU experience and I dont have it. I just don't want to get into something that is more than I can handle as a new grad
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    I agree with the PP - sounds like a great job. The organization would not be hiring you if they did not have some plan to train you. Cath lab practice - especially if they are interventional - is largely determined by the physicians who use it. You can bet that they won't allow the manager to foist off any untrained newbies on them... LOL.

    I think interventional cath labs are a great work environment - lots of exciting stuff going on. You'll learn far more about cardiac A & P than you will in any other environment. The hardest part for me was learning to control the danged wire!!! I can't tell you how many times it just zinged right out of my hands and launched itself across the room. Well, that and the lead apron thing, but that's another story.
  7. 1
    A 6 month orientation? GO FOR IT!!! You will learn a ton!
    turnforthenurseRN likes this.
  8. 0
    Thank you all! I am still very apprehensive about taking the job but I think if I work hard then I will do well!
  9. 0
    Did you end up taking the job? How did it go? I am going from 2years Medical, Renal Oncology (MS level of care) to cath lab and I am nervous and thrilled! I have a couple books I am studying, a critical care text and the cardiac catheterization handbook. I also have a list of most commonly used meds I am studying. Orientation is "as long as you need" and the manager told me "I can teach you the skills to be a cath lab nurse" I feel good about it but am scared bc I am at a disadvantage but like you feel like I am capable of learning and i will just have to work that much harder to catch up.
  10. 0
    I have been a cath lab nurse since January. Prior to that, my experience was in ER. You need to know moderate sedation and how to rescue someone. I believe it will take more than 6 months to train, as I am just now feeling comfortable circulating alone during regular diagnostic procedures (this does not include interventional and stent placement). Last week we had a STEMI come in, and as an ER nurse, when someone goes into vtach, my immediate thought is start CPR - well this is not really what the MD will want you to do when he has a wire in the ventricle.
    Critical thinking skills are a must, and you should ideally have some sort of critical care experience and foundation to build on. I believe you could be successful with the right team, right manager, and right attitude. Don't expect to pick up on things right away, and make sure there is a training program in place. Good luck!


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