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Path to Cath Lab RN

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Hello! I am a new grad (second career RN at the age of 38). I shadowed recently at a cath lab and was completely mesmerized by it and decided that is where I want to end up. I have just started on a CSU and was wondering what tips there may be to assist me in realizing my ultimate goal! (Courses or certifications that may be helpful when/if the opportunity ever arises?) Thank you!

KSmedic, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in Cath Lab, IR, ER, Flight, Paramedic. Has 10 years experience.

Congrats on the new career & welcome to nursing. I have done a few different specialties and work in cath lab nowadays. I'm not sure what a CSU is, but the best experience I can recommend you would be ICU (especially CVICU/CCU). Also, experience in ER nursing would be helpful too. Certifications to consider along the way would be CCRN and/or CEN. Good luck! 

Wedgepressure

Specializes in CCL.

Hey there! Im a new grad in the cath lab (about 1 year in)  and it's sooo much fun! Im mesmerised everyday I go to work,  I keep pinching myself thinking im in a dream Haha! Best job ever!

  My best advice would be to buy a hard copy of Dr. Morton Kern's cath lab essentials and start reading. Honestly I would read it cover to cover a few times, then I would reach out to the manger of the cath lab at your hospital and let them know how enthusiastic you are about the cath lab. Once you go down to talk with her/him let the manager know your currently reading it and how much you are enjoying it,  be able to speak to what your learning; THEN ask for what resources they suggest.  Brush up on cardiogenic shock management/resuscitation/ pharmacology and be able to speak to that as well. Don't talk about the ICU or your lack of experience just talking about the cath lab!   Honestly your enthusiasm and drive to learn will take you miles ahead of any ICU experience you may possess in my opinion.  You can't teach drive,  and your drive will make you lean quickly and get you the position.  

Some big talking points regarding traits of a good cath lab nurse to keep im mind:

Slow is smooth,  smooth is fast

Team work/ team player

Always learning 

Strong communication skills

Multitasking 

Humility/ take criticism well

I could keep going but these are just a few things to keep in mind when speaking to the manager.  Best of luck!  Let me know if you have questions!  

martymoose, BSN, RN

Specializes in PCCN. Has 18 years experience.

My friend went straight there after spending time on a heart transplant unit. I know speaking to Cath lab staff, I've been told 1 year of ICU or CCU is very helpful in the crash situations. 

CSTtoFutureNP

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 3 years experience.

On 2/17/2021 at 3:51 PM, Wedgepressure said:

Hey there! Im a new grad in the cath lab (about 1 year in)  and it's sooo much fun! Im mesmerised everyday I go to work,  I keep pinching myself thinking im in a dream Haha! Best job ever!

  My best advice would be to buy a hard copy of Dr. Morton Kern's cath lab essentials and start reading. Honestly I would read it cover to cover a few times, then I would reach out to the manger of the cath lab at your hospital and let them know how enthusiastic you are about the cath lab. Once you go down to talk with her/him let the manager know your currently reading it and how much you are enjoying it,  be able to speak to what your learning; THEN ask for what resources they suggest.  Brush up on cardiogenic shock management/resuscitation/ pharmacology and be able to speak to that as well. Don't talk about the ICU or your lack of experience just talking about the cath lab!   Honestly your enthusiasm and drive to learn will take you miles ahead of any ICU experience you may possess in my opinion.  You can't teach drive,  and your drive will make you lean quickly and get you the position.  

Some big talking points regarding traits of a good cath lab nurse to keep im mind:

Slow is smooth,  smooth is fast

Team work/ team player

Always learning 

Strong communication skills

Multitasking 

Humility/ take criticism well

I could keep going but these are just a few things to keep in mind when speaking to the manager.  Best of luck!  Let me know if you have questions!  

I'm a new grad going into a Cath Lab Residency program when I graduate... this advice is great to have! I'm curious what your call is like...when you're on call what is your average likelihood of getting called in? I know it's impossible to create an exact number, but as a previous surgical technologist in a hospital where we were pretty much guaranteed to work when we were on call, I'm curious what it's like in the cath lab! Should I just assume I'm going to work when I'm on call? 

Wedgepressure

Specializes in CCL.

27 minutes ago, CSTtoFutureNP said:

I'm a new grad going into a Cath Lab Residency program when I graduate... this advice is great to have! I'm curious what your call is like...when you're on call what is your average likelihood of getting called in? I know it's impossible to create an exact number, but as a previous surgical technologist in a hospital where we were pretty much guaranteed to work when we were on call, I'm curious what it's like in the cath lab! Should I just assume I'm going to work when I'm on call? 

Hi there!  Our call is kind of hardcore compared to other labs.  We do a whole week straight every 3rd week.  We can do anywhere from 0 hrs of call back to 25+hrs. It's very hit or miss. We also take call for all IR procedures. Bigger labs often require much less call. I've seen a day or two every week and one weekend a month.  We also run 4 can crews so it makes the call team's very fun and much lower stress than 3 man crews.  

Some hospitals have bonus incentive programs for MDs if they do a certain number of cases per quarter or yearly so they may be having call teams run at all hours of the night for stuff that could wait till the morning so depending on how your hospital runs you may be working all night on your call days or you could be only going in for emergencies every now and again or a mix of the two.  

CSTtoFutureNP

Specializes in Operating Room. Has 3 years experience.

Thanks so much for the response and insight! From my understanding my schedule is going to be 3 12 hour shifts and then 1 night of week of call and every 5th weekend. So I feel like that’s not too bad of a call requirement even if I do end up working the entire call shift, right? I’m just very nervous for my new role in the cath lab as a new grad so any info I can find makes me feel that much less freaked out, haha. 

Wedgepressure

Specializes in CCL.

1 hour ago, CSTtoFutureNP said:

Thanks so much for the response and insight! From my understanding my schedule is going to be 3 12 hour shifts and then 1 night of week of call and every 5th weekend. So I feel like that’s not too bad of a call requirement even if I do end up working the entire call shift, right? I’m just very nervous for my new role in the cath lab as a new grad so any info I can find makes me feel that much less freaked out, haha. 

If you PM me I will send you a bunch of Good info!  

Edited by Wedgepressure