Published Jun 16, 2003
I have an upcoming possible job opportunity in a 15-bed cardiac intervention unit, and I'd like to get an idea of what I'd be getting myself into. From what I understand it's post-cath: monitors, sheath removal, gtts, etc. Probably nights, maybe eves.
I'm coming from 2+ years on a Med-Surg/Tele unit where the caths were at least 4 hours old and were all diagnostic, no interventions.
Can anyone give me a heads-up??
I can't advise you directly regarding the position you describe but can talk to you about cath/intervention, having worked several years in the cath lab. Is there surgical backup immediately available for your patients? If not, I would not take the position.
Your duties would include cardiac monitoring and maintaining drips ( lots of nitroglycerin,heparin,and platelet inhibitors). Your manager will probably want you to get ACLS certification within a few months of your arrival.
Problems that this pt. population would be prone to would include bleeding problems and those associated with closure or partial closure of a coronary artery. Management of the arteriotomy is crucial and you will need to become competent in this area. Rarely is a vessel ballooned and not stented these days...still... stents can reclose. You would need to become competent in managing arterial and venous sheaths (pressure monitoring and blood draws). Other less frequent complications...retroperitoneal bleeding, dissection of the aorta or coronary artery.
Patients often have chest pain after intervention, lasting up to an hour or two post procedure. It has been attributed to the restructuring of the vessel, but sometimes is due to a small side branch of the main artery being "jailed" by the stent. Sometimes that has to happen to effectively treat the blockage in the larger artery.
I love the work I do and would recommend this area of specialization to any nurse. If you have interest in ever working a the lab, this would be a great way to make that transition.
Hope this was helpful.
AHarri66, BSN, RN
Thank you, Taryn! (I was hoping someone would reply to this post.)
You have helped me greatly. I have a phone interview this week, and I wanted to be prepared with a little of what to expect beforehand so as to ask the right questions. From what you describe, I think I will like this position. It seems like it would be a great learning experience, and a good stepping-stone to the cath lab.
I think I would love the cath lab...it was one of my favorite rotations in nursing school. I was totally mesmerized by the whole process, and found the coronary vessel structures to be beautiful, strange as that may seem.
Not to toot my own horn, but I was actually able to pick out the strictures on the screen my first day there, and knew where they would be attempting to stent. Maybe that's a sign, eh?
Thank you again!
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