Published Nov 10, 2021
Hello, I am a fairly new nurse. I have a year of Stepdown/PCU experience. I had the opportunity to take one of my patients down to cath lab and stay with them through their procedure basically shadowing the cath lab nurse. Since then, all I want to do is become a cath lab nurse. I know most (if not all) places want ICU experience, but by some miracle I landed a cath lab interview with a very prestigious hospital. I am extremely nervous as the recruiter was very honest when she said they prefer cath lab experience or ICU experience.
I have no desire to continue in PCU or to go to ICU. My question is, has anyone made the transition from PCU/stepdown to CCL, seen it done, is it possible? I am a quick learner and love a fast paced environment, I am reliable, always on time, bilingual and that's about all I have going for me....
Any tips or suggestions? TIA!
I work in Cath Lab as an RN. All RNs have ICU/CCU or ER experience, except one nurse who came from step down unit. She said that the learning curve was very steep, but she is very good now. The only issue I see with her is that when a really sick patient comes in (intubated, unstable, on multiple drips), she “avoids” circulating or picking up the patient from ER or ICU. It shows she is uncomfortable, and doesn’t really know how to suction the intubated patient or titrate the drips or give hand off report to ICU nurse. I am new in the lab and every time I work with her, it is happening. She is great at scrubbing and doing outpatient cases, though. So yes, it is possible and she is a strong team member. When we do super sick patients, I take over the ICU stuff like mixing and hanging drips, etc, and she helps with throwing supplies on the table as she knows all the wires and catheters. So it works out. I like working with her more than with other experienced ICU nurses. It all depends on how you carry yourself and make up for lack of ICU experience.
Thank you so much! This helps a lot. I am comfortable doing all of the above, as the step down I cam from did handle stable vents and some drips. I interviewed and I think it went well.
Good luck! I hope you get it. Keep me posted!
Wedgepressure, ADN, EMT-B
Hey there! I went in to the lab as a new grad, no prior experience. I would suggest getting Dr. Morton Kerns cath lab hand book, read it 3 or 4 times front to back before your interview and mention that you have done so in your interview, it goes a long way in your interview. Cath labs want enthusiasm and eagerness to learn in their applicants. If you can show that it won't matter how much experience you have. Besides having ICU and er experiences doesn't make you a good cath lab nurse. I have none and I am the first to take the sickest of the sick patients, it's my favorite case to circulate, vents, drips, MCS, RSI it's all fun! I also scrub and monitor. Being a team player, comfortable with being uncomfortable and willing to be flexible with your job role and continuing to strive to learn more are some great cath lab traits. Good luck!
Thank you all so much. I got the job. I received an email from the director saying he was impressed with my outlook on patient care and that it made up for all the experience in the world ? I am super excited but also extremely nervous. I have a lot to learn.
Congrats! ? So much better than bedside
OUxPhys, BSN, RN
It's possible. My background is all cardiac stepdown. I recently started in the cath lab but it's not like the labs at larger hospitals. The staff all have a lot of experience and the manager said I would get a full orientation. I also work with people in the who's only prior experience was in the OR and they got hired in a lab at outside hospitals before coming to this lab. If you are eager to learn then they will spend the time to train you. That unfortunately isn't the case at a lot of places.
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