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Applying for cath lab job, what should I study up on?

Hi,

I graduated in May and have been working on an ortho/neuro floor since then. I am really wanting to try something more critical. I am applying for a job in a cardiac cath lab. I was wondering if those of you who work in this area could tell me what information I should brush up on since I've been mostly working with knees/hips the last 6 months. Also if you could tell me what all your job entails? Lastly, I was wondering if I have a chance at this job since I am almost a new grad?

Thanks a bunch and happy holidays!

Christi

You are going to find it hard to get accepted into a position like that without having Critical Care experience. You need to be adept at reading cardiac monitors, as well as pushing cardiac drugs. And can function very well in a code situation.

Unfortunately, this is not a job that you can just read up on.

What were the requirements posted for the position? You will also need ACLS, and PALS, depending on the facility.

I would find a position that offers you a solid Critical Care orientation first, Cath Lab si not a plce where you will find the initial teaching that you require. It will be more beneficial to you. Also remember that usually, you are the only RN in the room during a procedure, so you will not have the bakc-up that you need at hand. You would be expected to know everything to do without even having to think about it.

Hi,

I graduated in May and have been working on an ortho/neuro floor since then. I am really wanting to try something more critical. I am applying for a job in a cardiac cath lab. I was wondering if those of you who work in this area could tell me what information I should brush up on since I've been mostly working with knees/hips the last 6 months. Also if you could tell me what all your job entails? Lastly, I was wondering if I have a chance at this job since I am almost a new grad?

Thanks a bunch and happy holidays!

Christi

Go for it Christi. The answer will always be no until you try. I have a friend who was also in your position and because of her assertiveness and willingness to spend extra time (of her own) to learn she was hired into the cath lab right out of school. You will never know unless you try. What is the worst that can happen if you do?

Best wishes to you

Sorry, but that is very scary to know that a facility took a new nurse without any hospital experience as an RN into a cath lab. Definitely not the smartest thing to do.

Critical Care skills are not learned by just reading a book, but by doing it every day, so much so that you can just do something without even a second thought.

If the patient on the table crashes, things can go south in a very big hurry, and remember that you would be the only nurse in the room, at least initially. And this does happen.

ann h

Specializes in cardiac cath lab.

I am a UK cath lab nurse and we took on a new RN, she has done really well with support and teaching for the other RNs in the lab we did not leave her on her own until she was ready.

I for one did not think it was the right thing to do in employing her but I have been proved wrong this was about 18 months ago.

I am a UK cath lab nurse and we took on a new RN, she has done really well with support and teaching for the other RNs in the lab we did not leave her on her own until she was ready.

I for one did not think it was the right thing to do in employing her but I have been proved wrong this was about 18 months ago.

Hi ann h,

Your administrators and hiring personnel must have felt this RN would be an asset to your facility. Kudos to you and your colleagues for working with her and helping her to become a fine cath lab nurse. EVERY nurse, new or seasoned brings talents to a department. It is a keen eye to spot that talent and use it to everyone's benefit.

Thanks for sharing a success story.

Christi--

Everyone is entitled to their opinion in regards to a new nurse working in the cath lab. It all depends on the nurse.

Cath lab nurses may operate in a different capacity compared to other facilities. Where I work there are cath lab nurses, ep lab nurses, and cath holding nurses (they manage pts pre and post cath, transfers from other noninterventional hospitals, post cath/pre surgical pts). You will see and learn alot more in that aspect of cath nursing. In the lab, you are standing, pushing meds and assisting the cardiologist all day.

If a pt crashes, you follow the orders of the MD and use ACLS. When there are problems, more than enough people will come to your rescue.

Personally, I feel cath lab nursing is monotonous work. However, it is a great stepping stone for something else. There are pros to working in the cath lab--no weekends/no holidays--just the occasional call.

If you have a great preceptor and nurse manager, you will do just fine. Brush up on cardiac and take ACLS. Everything else you will absorb during orientation. Good luck!!

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the replies...I am applying for the job and am crossing my fingers. I do realize I do not know even close to what I need to know for this job, but I was pretty much thrown on my own after a week on the ortho floor and I survived fine. I realize this isn't as critical, but I am saying I learn fast and I am not afraid to ask questions. I am at least going to try, if I don't I will wonder whether I could get it or not. Thanks for all the support and I will let you all know what they decide.

Hope you all have great year!

Christi

ann h

Specializes in cardiac cath lab.

I wish you the very best of luck!!

I love the work I do in the Cath Lab, as a few people know already I am a UK RN but hope within the year to be working in Orlando Hospital FL doing the same job and cant wait.

Hey everyone,

Just an update. They called me back the next day for an interview. I interviewed today and am really excited about how it went. They were ok with me not having experience because they said sometimes it is easier to teach new nurses than people that have been nurses forever. The orientation would be long and they are willing to teach me everything I need to know to perform the job well. The interview went really well and he said that I have the job unless someone with all the right experience walks in the next day or so. After being down there I am way more excited for this job than I was even before I applied. After hearing what all the job entails I am really excited for it and excited to learn. Thanks to all of those who told me to go for it and cross you fingers for me! I'll let you know how it goes.

Christi

ann h

Specializes in cardiac cath lab.

well Done!!

I am really pleased for you.

You can fill me in about the life of an RN in a US Cath Lab.

Ann

Hey everyone, Just an update. They called me back the next day for an interview. I interviewed today and am really excited about how it went..... Christi

Good for you. If you are the person for the job, it will be yours. If not you have gained additional interviewing skills which can only benefit you in the future.

You have a positive, and open mind to learning and that is a big plus. Keep your goals in sight always.

Please keep us posted.

Good for you for trying!

\I went from the NICU to the cath lab with no adult critical care experience, and it was hard at first, and still is sometimes. But if you are willing to work hard to understand the job and it's requirements, then you are likely to succeed. There is a certain degree of monotany in the lab, but then again, i feel like that exists in all jobs.

Let us know how things turn out!

Update #2

Ok, well they ended up hiring a lady with ER and Telemetry experience that their boss reccomended. I found out on a Friday and was pretty upset. I thought I would be stuck on Ortho/neuro forever. Then the manager called me on Monday and told me he was really upset that he couldn't give me that job and that he was going to make a job up for me in the cardiac surgery area and also have me float to cath lab. He pretty much said I am an experiment for him and he wanted to see if he could make the perfect cardiac nurse. I went in to shadow for a open heart surgery, which I later found out was to see if the main cardiac surgeon approves of me or not (which I think is kinda stupid). Anyways I got the job and I start on Monday. Now the tough part is going to be switching from only working night shifts to early in the morning. :sleep:

Thanks to all of you who told me to go for it..ended up getting a job I think I will like even if I didn't get the one I applied for!

Christi

dianah, ADN

Specializes in Cath Lab/Radiology. Has 45 years experience.

Christi, my last change I too was the "second" choice. But it came around, as it did for you. You'll learn a lot and at least 1) you have a change in the right direction and 2) you know they're TRYING to get you into the Lab. Good for you! Let us know how the new position goes (WAKEY, WAKEY!!!! :D). --- D

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