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!

201 Careers in NursingBASIC DESCRIPTION

A cardiothoracic intensive care nurse practitioner provides primary care to adults who have acute and complex cardiovascular conditions that require constant monitoring. The cardiothoracic intensive care nurse practitioner works in a highly specialized acute care unit that caters to the needs of patients who have undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery, heart valve replacement, pacemaker and internal defibrillator placement, heart and lung transplants, and other major cardiothoracic surgeries.


Registered nurse preparation and Nurse Practitioner certification, master’s degree in nursing or higher, and Basic Life Support and Advanced Cardiac Life Support certifications are required; certification as acute care nurse practitioner is offered by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and American Nurses Credentialing Center.


  • Excellent assessment and decision-making skills
  • Advanced knowledge in hemodynamic pathophysiology, assessment, diagnosis, management, and pharmacology
  • Strong leadership and organizational skills
  • A high level of stress tolerance and the ability to work in fast-paced and highly dynamic environments
  • Ability to work autonomously
  • Could be involved in unit- or hospital-based clinical research



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