CVICU Job Responsibilities

CVICU Job Responsibilities

The CVICU is a busy and hectic setting for nursing. There is always something happening, so a nurse has to always be on their toes. In order to meet the changing needs of their patients, a nurse must be quick to respond to changes. 

After receiving open-heart surgery or any other rigorous medical treatment, people have constant nursing needs. CVICU nurses need to be up to the challenge and ready to face whatever comes their way.


Working in the CVICU can be demanding. In fact, many consider CVICU nursing responsibilities to be the most intensive and specialized field for nurses to work in. This is, in part, because the cardiovascular system is both immense and essential. Even just a momentary lapse in the functioning of the heart or cardiovascular system can have immediate and devastating consequences. CVICU nurses are the patient’s primary defense against these potential complications. 

The CVICU nurse must monitor the vital signs to ensure that the patient is healthy. They must also administer medications, monitor reactions, educate patients and families on health and treatment, document current progress, communicate effectively with other healthcare professionals involved, and assist in planning further care and the discharge process. Due to the complexity and intensity of the patients that they care for, CVICU nurses are typically preferred to only have one patient during their shift. This allows them to provide constant, direct attention to those under their care.

CVICU Requirements

Before becoming a CVICU nurse, one must first become a registered nurse. However, successful completion of schooling and going through the needed paperwork to get a nursing license does not on its own qualify someone to serve in this capacity. Experience in the field with direct patient care is typically a requirement. A nurse may have to start working in a medical-surgical unit, then after gaining some experience can work as an ICU nurse. After getting some experience in this setting, they may be able to work in a CVICU. 

Other essential qualities for a CVICU nurse include good communication skills, problem-solving, adaptability, a thorough understanding of the human body (particularly the cardiovascular system), and strong social interaction skills. These skills will all be put to the test when dealing with patients, doctors, fellow nurses, other healthcare professionals, and family members. One must be able to relate complex medical situations in a simple, yet dignified way. 

How to Become a CVICU Nurse

In order to work as an effective CVICU nurse, one must first complete the needed schooling to become a registered nurse. This usually involves obtaining a Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree (BSN). Occasionally, nurses with an Associates Degree in Nursing (ADN) and experience may be given the opportunity to work in a CVICU. In addition, further education and certification in specialized fields will make a nurse better equipped to deal with whatever may come their way. For example, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses offers the Critical-Care Registered Nurse certification that provides proof of the competency that nurse shows in providing direct patient care to those needing intensive care.

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