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What is your day like?

by RR910 RR910 Member

im looking at a few different nursing specialties that interest me, cardiac being one of them, i just want to know what your day is like? what other courses did you need to take i school? advice?


everyone's experience and workplace is different depending on the hospital and state so i don't know how much help i'll be. i didn't take any additional courses outside of the required ones going through school, so anything extra in cardiac will probably help you:). plus when getting hired they like to ask if you belong to any other organizations like the american association of critical care nurses (aacn) so that may also help you.

i work the night shift (7pm - 7:30am) so that is quite a different experience in itself. my floor is considered intermediate care so you have to have bcls and acls. i work on the cardiac progressive care unit. on a typical night i usually start out with 4 patients and then have to admit one, i never have more than 5 patients though. i've had 18 year old patients and 97 year old patients. we get chest pain, heart arrhythmias, copd & chf exacerbation, diabetic ketoacidosis, people that need open heart surgery and stuff like that. we see chest tubes, trachs, lots of drips (like amiodarone) and other stuff like that:).

sometimes it's an intense floor to work on but you'll never be bored, that's for sure:). it can be sad/scary/exhilarating when a code happens too. hope i didn't bore you too much and that this helps.

no that is great thank you :) can i ask where you live? did you start out on med surge first?


Specializes in ICU, MedSurg, Medical Telemetry. Has 10 years experience.

Like Ace7 said, everyone's experience is different.

I also work 7p-7a. My floor is Medical Telemetry and I started there right after graduation with no extra classes outside of basic nursing school.

To describe Med Tele, what I like to tell people is that we get people with heart problems (MIs, CABG candidates, ablation candidates, pacer candidates, etc) BEFORE we fix the problem. :rolleyes:

On a normal night we can have anywhere between 5 or 6 pts. It's a light night if we have 4 pts and a heavy (though not uncommon) night if we have 7 pts. If we're lucky, we start out with a full team or only one empty room. If we get an admit, hopefully it is around 2300 or after, when we're winding up on med pass and assessment for the others. If we get two or three admits and a discharge or two (I've had this happen), we pray to God that there is a float nurse to help or that the charge can give a hand. Usually it's not nearly that bad, though, and after report from 1845-1915ish and the rush from 1915ish to 2300 or mn, we usually have time to eat, wrap up loose ends, do research for the crazy busy dayshift that has no time to do so, and maybe admit a pt or two as well. Then, around 0400 or 0500 I rap out my telemetry trends (10-20 min tops) for all my pts and then begin med pass. Report and home! Then sleep and back to do it all again. Usually the night goes by pretty fast -- esp. if you like to spend time talking to your pts like I do. :D

I think the youngest pt I've had was about 15 or 16, the oldest has been close to 100. Heparin is an everyday gtt, Amio, Integrilin, Dopamine, Bumex are fairly common too. There aren't many gtts we don't do -- a nitro gtt being the only one that comes to mind right now. CHFers, pts with CP, and pts with arrythmias are our bread and butter. I've only had a couple of CABGs personally in the year and a half I've been working here, but that's just luck of the draw. Heart caths and stress tests are super common as are pacers and even ablations to some extent.

We don't see much in the way of trachs or chest tubes (thank Heavens, mucusy kind of stuff is my personal Kryptonite). It's an intense floor but I've definitely learned a lot and am learning more every day. Since we don't have a medsurg floor, we see a lot of different kinds of pts, including respiratory, renal, and (occasionally) cancer pts.

I was miserable on and off for my first year as I got my sea legs, but now I absolutely love my job. There are good nights and bad nights, but I've finally hit my comfort zone. I'm glad I didn't start on a slower flow. The heart is very fascinating and I love my pt population. If you go cardiac, expect to work your rear off, but also expect to learn a LOT.

Hope this helps somewhat. ;)


Has 6 years experience.

I'm not working right now waiting to start a travel nursing job, but I come from cardiac. I was on a cardiosurgical med surg/PCU floor. We had 51 beds on 2 units with 9 PCU beds. We took surgical and medical patients so that included CABG, MAZE, cath lab, CHF, COPD, chest painers, vascular surgery pts, and amputations. When I was in school I never thought I would be a cardiac nurse-but I absolutely love it! You learn so much and really master your skills b/c there are so many other systems involved (the majority of the time). We had 3-4 patients on the floor and 2-3 in the PCU. We had pts in the PCU that had VADs (ventricular assist devices), and I loved those pts. You really get to know them b/c they are in and out all the time. We had lots of chest tubes, heparin gtts, dobutrex, argatroban, etc. We didn't take drips that need to be titrated except for the blood thinners. One thing that I liked to do is esp with your staff doctors when you see them on the unit address them by their name and ask how they are doing- I think it helps them learn your name :D Good luck!

no that is great thank you :) can i ask where you live? did you start out on med surge first?

I live in Michigan :). And I did not start out Med-Surg although that is what many people suggest. I started out with the floor that I'm currently on (Cardiac Progressive Care):redpinkhe