New grad in Cardiac Cath Lab Recovery???

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    Well, I think I already know the answer to this, but I will ask anyway :-) What do you nurses think about a brand new nurse starting out in the cardiac cath lab recovery area??? I have a strong interest in cardiac nursing, and I shadowed in the CCL in nursing school, which I loved. I however did not picture myself starting out in the CCL. I thought I would work in telemetry or cardiovascular stepdown first. I have been having so much trouble getting a new grad job, just like many other 2009 grads. I interviewed and shadowed in a heart failure unit / preoperative heart surgery area, which is very "bedside" nursing, but they have not made a decision yet. The same hospital called me back and told me that they would also like for me to interview and shadow in the cardiac cath lab, as they may have a position available to me in CCL recovery. Experienced nurses, including a recruiter that I know told me that they think that I will have trouble transitioning into any other unit in the future if I start out in the cath lab, because I will not develop a lot of important nursing skills. It is so rare for a new grad to get an offer from the cath lab, but I will work in recovery. I hear that it's hard to get into this particular hospital's CCL because people are very happy there and do not leave, and they have an excellent nurse manager. I know that it will not be easy, but I am up for a challenge. My concern is that I will not be able to go into anything else later on. I have not even shadowed yet, but can I please have your thoughts? Thanks a bunch!
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    Good luck. I spent 70 hours in the cath lab during my schooling, had 5 years of ACLS and ECG, and was on the cardiac floor working various roles for a total of 9 years prior to graduation. Even with that they wanted more experience.

    I say go for it. It may be a harder transition later but from my experience, when you go to the cath lab, you never leave
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    Quote from RNRyan
    Good luck. I spent 70 hours in the cath lab during my schooling, had 5 years of ACLS and ECG, and was on the cardiac floor working various roles for a total of 9 years prior to graduation. Even with that they wanted more experience.

    I say go for it. It may be a harder transition later but from my experience, when you go to the cath lab, you never leave
    Thanks! I am glad someone finally responded. I had my shadow day a couple of days ago and absolutely loved it. It is so hard to get a new grad position now, and although I have had three interiews, no offers. This has been the unit I have enjoyed the most and the orientation will be the best - 6 months compared to 12wks with the others. Even the staff nurses in CCL recovery seemed happier than the nurses on the other units that I have checked out.
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    Hey there,
    Well I can give you my firsthand opinion. It's the most honest one I can give because we are now training a new grad in our cath lab recovery and I have to say that I was not happy about it at first. (Sorry!) Reason because is I think this nurse would be limited to expanding herself. Learning time management from a cardiology or med-surge floor is ESSENTIAL to your nursing career if you're going to continue in this amazing but crazy profession. Let alone, the skills you'll learn will not be the same and very limited.
    On the OTHER hand...lol. The ability of the nurses to mold and train you would be beneficial because you will also learn a lot in this area and who knows? Perhaps one day you might find yourself IN the cath lab if that's where you REALLLY want to stay. (Side note**I know the cath lab prefers nurses with critical care experience.) It's not that you can't expand in this profession as our careers allow that fortunately however I think even a year or 2 on cardiology will be a great assett to you and the nurses you work with=)

    It's your choice and I am fully aware of this but just giving you a perspective of the other side of things! I worked on cardiology for 6 yrs with plasty experience for 3 of those. I will continue to support her and wish you luck with whatever decision you make!! Also, you can try it and if it's NOT for you, there's nothing saying you can't go to other things! You've learned something though by trying which is also very cool=)
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    Thanks lilnursie, for your honest opinion, which is the only kind that I want lol. Those are pretty much the responses that I get from most people that I talk to, so I see where you are coming from. Unfortunately, I have not had an offer from that unit yet, but I think that I was the only new grad they interviewed. I did not apply to the position, but sort of fell into the interview due to some other circumstances. The posting for this position requests 3 yrs critical care exp. Also unfortunately, there is not much out there for a newbie, so if I had the offer I would probably give it my best shot.
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    If cardiology is what you like go straight to CCU or CVICU. there you will learn how to have time management skills plus you actually will learn real critical care. been a ccu/cvicu nurse for 8 yrs and currently in the ccl. it is absouletly essential to have critical care experience in the ccl. 98% of all the caths we do are simple diagonics and intervention. there is just not enough exposure or time to learn from those bad 2% cases. as the only nurse with critical care experience in my lab, its absolutely entertaining to see follow co-nurses run around, nervous, scared with those bad cases especially in the bad stemi patients, where a iabp can be inserted, multiple pressors used, arrhythmias, etc.... by the way er is not critical care.
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    I hope all is well with your career search by now. But as a CCL RN with 4 years in the lab and 34 total in nursing I hope you work in the recovery area or even better in another general area position before going to the CCL. I have ICU, ER, supervisor, post-CABG unit, Med/Surg, etc. experience and the CCL was the toughest orientation I ever experienced and the first 6 months in a busy interventional lab dong 20+ cases a day +call almost did me in. I totally love my job now and it is a great place to work but solid experience in basic nursing is a must. Best of luck to you.
    CCL RN likes this.
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    Thanks! I did get an offer from Cardiac cath recovery, and I start Monday. I will not work in the cath lab in this position, just prep and recovery. Precepted orientation is 6 months with several critical care classroom experiences, and I will go through CCL, CVICU, and some other units, just to see how the big picture falls into place. I believe I have a continuted mentorship for a year. I do think it's going to be challenging, but it's a challenge that I am up for! I am very hardworking and ambitious. The fact that this is an area of nursing that I LOVE to learn more and more about will give me even more drive to soak up what I am learning. This could go one of two ways: I could get in over my head and fail miserably, or I could actually succeed and it would be success at something that I love, which would be very rewarding. And I guess the third way it could go is that I think I love this area of nursing, but I learn that it's not what I thought. I guess there is only one way to find out, and I loved my shadow days there and my shadow days in nursing school. I will post an update in a few weeks to let everyone know how it's going! And thanks again for the advice :-)
    Gator Girl 2000 likes this.
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    Congratulations on the position! It sounds like you picked the perfect situation to allow you to get a really broad based set of experiences. You seem to be very motivated and I am sure you will due great in this new job. Maybe in a couple of years you'll make the jump into the CCL. But you know, our prep & recovery unit nurses really love their jobs so who knows you may decide that is the place for you? Either way the best of luck to you!
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    thanks so much :-)


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