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Career Story: Nurse In A Cardiac Unit

Nurse In A Cardiac Unit

Job Title: Cardiac Nurse

Type of Company: I work for a large public hospital in Boston.

Education: BS, Nursing, Boston College

Previous Experience: I started my nursing career on a general medical unit. I enjoyed working with the cardiac population so, after a year, I pursued a staff position on an interventional cardiac unit.

Job Tasks: I work as a staff nurse on an interventional cardiac unit. Our patient population consists of patients who have heart problems, who've had heart attacks or are in danger of having them. The majority of these patients go to the cardiac catheterization lab where pictures are taken of the heart to look for blockages. If a blockage is seen, an intervention (such as a stent or angioplasty) is performed.

We are a thirty-six bed unit with a high turnover, meaning we have as many as eighteen patient admissions and discharges a day and have a short length of stay. My job as a staff nurse is to care for these patients. I typically have four patients assigned to me at any given time. I am responsible for administering their medications, performing basic assessments and reporting any changes to the physicians, taking care of their basic needs (feeding, toileting, assisting with ambulation), and education (teaching them about there disease process and their medications. An important part of my job is advocating for the patient being able to effectively communicate with other disciplines.

I am also responsible for making sure that my patients are safe and comfortable and if they experience pain, that we treat it promptly. We draw blood, perform EKG's, and monitor patients on telemetry monitors.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of my job is the satisfaction I get from making a difference in a patients life. I am a mother of two children so being able to work "non 9-5" hours is helpful and having a flexible schedule to work around my children's.

The worst part of my job is very high risk for burnout because of caring for very ill people. You have to be able to cope with watching people die.

Job Tips: Nursing is a very demanding job, both emotionally and physically, but tremendously rewarding as well. But you will need to be emotionally and physically strong to perform this job.

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