In this weekly feature, the editors of SpringBoard highlight one career in the health care professions–including a basic description, educational requirements, core competencies/key skills needed, and related web sites and professional organizations where you can find more information!

BASIC DESCRIPTION

A cardiothoracic intensive care nurse works in a highly specialized cardiothoracic intensive care unit (ICU) catering to the needs of patients requiring constant monitoring and whose clinical conditions are considered critical. The cardiothoracic intensive care nurse is adept at noting subtle hemodynamic changes that could lead to serious complications and providing immediate interventions as required. The ICU nurse is comfortable in operating and managing complex medical equipment such as ventilators and telemetry monitors and works closely with physicians and unlicensed assistive personnel. The cardiothoracic intensive care nurse usually takes care of no more than two acutely ill patients in a shift.

EDUCATIONAL REQUIREMENTS

Registered nurse preparation, Basic Life Support certification, and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certification are required; certification as critical care registered nurse is available from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

CORE COMPETENCIES/SKILLS NEEDED

  • Ability to work in a dynamic and intense environment that requires quick thinking and excellent analytical and assessment skills
  • Strong background knowledge on hemodynamics, arrhythmia management, pathophysiology, and pharmacology
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
  • Excellent technical skills such as intravenous management and ventilator care
  • Strong computer skills needed for electronic health record documentation
  • Strong leadership and delegation skills

RELATED WEB SITE AND PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATION

 

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