What experience for Cath Lab is best?

  1. I'm a new grad and just interviewed for an internship in the Critical Care Dept of a large hospital. I am interested in getting into a Cath Lab eventually. What I need to know is what is the best type of experience to have for this? This critical care dept has Open Hearts as well as every other type of patient on an ICU unit. Is this the best place for me to start?
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   Dinith88
    Quote from Sflowerssweeney
    I'm a new grad and just interviewed for an internship in the Critical Care Dept of a large hospital. I am interested in getting into a Cath Lab eventually. What I need to know is what is the best type of experience to have for this? This critical care dept has Open Hearts as well as every other type of patient on an ICU unit. Is this the best place for me to start?
    You dont really need critical-care experience to be a cath-lab nurse, but it'd help (obviously). Actually, a tele/step-down unit that deals with post-cath-lab patients would be best because you'll deal with a much higher volume of cath-lab patients there (pre-and-post procedure). You'll gain a good understanding of cardiac-type stuff, pulling sheaths, and post-procedure care. Cath-lab is such a specialty area that you'll only learn most of it by being in the lab.
  4. by   mummer43
    Quote from Dinith88
    You dont really need critical-care experience to be a cath-lab nurse, but it'd help (obviously). Actually, a tele/step-down unit that deals with post-cath-lab patients would be best because you'll deal with a much higher volume of cath-lab patients there (pre-and-post procedure). You'll gain a good understanding of cardiac-type stuff, pulling sheaths, and post-procedure care. Cath-lab is such a specialty area that you'll only learn most of it by being in the lab.
    I would eventually like to get into the cath lab.
    Last edit by mummer43 on Nov 27, '07
  5. by   Sflowerssweeney
    Thanks for the info Dinith88. I appreciate it.
  6. by   Ubernurse
    :heartbeat For the best experiance work in the department where they send out their post angiogram patients. Priority is prevention of groin bleeds so then you can learn about them after their procedure.:heartbeat
  7. by   Sflowerssweeney
    Thanks for your help. I'll be interviewing next week on the Cardiac Med Surg floor. I'll see where they send these patients, either to ICU or to that Cardiac Med Surg dept. Anyway, thanks to everyone for your responses.
  8. by   heartlover07
    I too am interested in the cath lab, I went one day to observe during school and I LOVED it so much I didn't want to leave
    Ever since then I have had tunnel vision and I got a job on a tele stepdown unit ( I start in July after graduation in May) that gets post caths, rule out MI and EPS patients just to get the experience I need to go to the cath lab.... I can't wait to get there someday!! Good luck to you!!
  9. by   CCL"Babe"
    CCU is a good place to start. You will learn IABPs, wave forms/lines as well as groin stabilization. You will also be more familar with EKGs and types of MIs and their consequences.
    I went from the ED and had to learn some of the "basic" critical care stuff like the balloon pumps and line care. Taking care of the groin afterwards is not so hard to learn.
  10. by   Wavedancer
    I agree with tele, or ccu stepdown if you are interested in cath lab. Hope u r ready for all that call back!
    T
  11. by   heartlover07
    Quote from Wavedancer
    I agree with tele, or ccu stepdown if you are interested in cath lab. Hope u r ready for all that call back!
    T
    HI Waverunner
    I'm sorry but what did you mean by callback...did you mean being on call or something else.....sorry for the stupid question.....:spin:
  12. by   CCL"Babe"
    You will need to be familar w/ waveforms and line pressures. Most tele units do not provide that kind of experience. You will need to be proficient with balloon pumps. They are frequently inserted during emergencies in the cath lab, and you will be expected to help insert them quickly and problem solve them. You will need to know your meds - especially your drips and how to titrate them. I worked tele/step down for several years and I did not really learn what I would need to work in a cath lab. The ED was good for learning how to handle emergencies, but my co workers in the cath lab who came from CCU definately had a head start when it came to working there.
    Last edit by CCL"Babe" on Mar 13, '07 : Reason: spelling - again
  13. by   heartlover07
    CCL Babe
    So would you say that working on a stepdown unit that will also give experience with post CABG patients ( there are four beds just for 2nd day post CABG patients) will not be enough, is it necessary to go to a CCU after this experience before going into the CL? It is not advisable to start in a CCU right out of school so that would be a ways down the road and I was hoping to get in a little sooner than that
  14. by   bertea
    Quote from heartlover07
    I too am interested in the cath lab, I went one day to observe during school and I LOVED it so much I didn't want to leave
    Ever since then I have had tunnel vision and I got a job on a tele stepdown unit ( I start in July after graduation in May) that gets post caths, rule out MI and EPS patients just to get the experience I need to go to the cath lab.... I can't wait to get there someday!! Good luck to you!!
    The CCL is cool. Only problem with that is that you have to be cool as well. Many nurses are, but over 18 years of CCL i have seen many chickens without a head. You decide yourself what CCL element you are.
    I hope you will decide for the best, good luck.
    PS. Only CCL gives you experience in CCL, nothing else. I have noticed that you have things to learn every day for the first five years, easy. Good luck again, it is a field of its own, no misteries, just timing.

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