Opinions needed re: transfer to Cath Lab

  1. Can anyone give me any insight on working in Cath Lab? I've worked ICU for the last five years, the most recent three being in a CV/Surgical ICU with an occasional float to the CCU.

    I've been offered a position in my hospital's Cath Lab, and the hours and call schedule are fine, but I'm just wondering about the working conditons. I know all of the cardiologists very well, and they all like me so that shouldn't be much of a problem. Anyone have any words of wisdom for me??

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    About SICU Queen

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 571; Likes: 505
    RN/Mother/Housekeeper/Vet/Should I go on?
    Specialty: 16 year(s) of experience in SICU


  3. by   st4304
    Hey, Kimberly!

    I have worked in a cath lab for 3.5 years and am about ready to transfer into our CVU. Love the people I work for and with, love the hours, call isn't that bad, BUT I am bored with it after 3.5 years.

    The only problems I have heard of in other cath labs (have not experienced this in my lab) is a "them vs. us" attitude between the RTs and CVTs vs. RNs. In some labs, RNs only circulate and in others, RNs perform all positions. Like I said, I have never experienced this myself. We RNs perform all 3 positions and the RTs do everything but circulate. We have a great group and we all get along. We are even lucky in that our cardiologists are wonderful.

    If you like a fast-paced, busy atmosphere, you will love the cath lab. The patient's are great (most of the time -- we try to have fun while we work). We never work short-staffed, which is nice after ICU where I was always taking an extra load because of staffing. Now I am begining to think "Why am I leaving?". . .

    Good luck!
  4. by   SICU Queen
    Thanks! I did an orientation shift down there and it was great. The techs and RN's got along great. Only the techs (usually) scrub and the RN circulates. I know both of the nurses I'll be working with and I like them both a lot. They seem eager to have me come down there to work. SO, now all I need to do is accept, I guess...

    I'll let you know how it goes...
  5. by   wildfire11
    Hi Kimberly,
    I have some of the same questions you have asked. I have only been an RN for a year. This is a second career for me, but I am very interested in Cath Lab, after I have more experience. I currently work on a 34-bed telemetry unit, that functions as a step-down. I read the post by st4304 and I don't know what RT stands for. ST4304 could you explain. I watched a couple of cath's during my orientation and they had two RN's and another person. I think the other person was a tech, he prepared the person, scrubbed with betadyne, etc., and the two nurses took turns between administering the drugs, repositioning the patient and the other one wrote the report. They seemed to love it. I am interested in doing this. ST4304, why are you bored? Is it too much repetition? The hospital I work at, doesn't have open heart surgery, so anyone who has two or three vessel occlusion goes to Boston. we are only 8 miles from Boston, and Beth Isreal, NEMEC, Brigham and Mass General all have open heart. South Shore is trying but they did not get awarded one of the three grants given in the state last year. Thanks, for any response.
  6. by   heartsmartnurse
    I have worked in a cath lab for 2 1/2years. I was recently promoted to the position of Supervisor. I transferred to the cath lab after working in CCU for 11 years and I must say that I LOVE it!!! The hours are great, call isn't bad, and everyone is like a family, Cardiologists included. Sure it does sometimes get monotonous and we do have our share of fights and arguments (just like I said, a little family) But it all works out. I think you will really enjoy it and there are always new and exciting things in the world of Cardiac Nursing. Good Luck....
  7. by   mcline
    I have worked in the cath lab for 1 1/2 years. Came from the ICU. For the first 3 months I was pretty overwhelmed with all the equipment, different type of nursing, etc. But I love it now. I would NOT be quick to recommend it to anyone without a critical care background (but everyone can learn!). About the time it starts to feel a little routine you get an emergent in and the adrenalin kicks in!!!! I love the teamwork atmosphere. We have CVT's, resp therapist, rad. Tech, and RN's in our cath lab. Good Luck!