According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death worldwide. That is to say, they claim around 17.9 million lives each year, which works out at an estimated 32% of all deaths. Heart attacks and strokes cause more than 75% of these deaths, with 1 in 3 of these affecting people under the age of 70. In February 2021, the Alliance for Heart Failure (a coalition of heart failure organisations) argued that the number of heart failure specialist nurses needs to be doubled, or even quadrupled, to meet rising demand.
Cath lab nurses care for patients having procedures affecting the heart that require a catheter to be inserted. This might be for diagnostic reasons – for example, checking an artery for a blockage, or for an invasive procedure such as inserting a stent.
Patients can have treatment in a cath lab for several reasons, including:
Cath lab nurses work as part of the team in cardiac catheterisation labs. To clarify. that’s an area of the hospital specialising in procedures that involve examining and treating the heart without needing to use an operating theatre.
You might be working in an emergency situation, for example where someone has a heart attack, or on a planned procedure such as heart catheterisation or trans-aortic valve replacement.
You’ll be responsible for helping the team with both interventional and diagnostic procedures such as fitting pacemakers and with angiograms or angioplasty procedures.
Your role can include pre-assessment of patients and checking their health across a complex and changing caseload. You’ll be involved in developing care plans, taking account of a patient’s perioperative risks and wellbeing. You’ll also be admitting patients, monitoring them while the procedure takes place, and looking after them afterwards, including their discharge. You can expect to:
You’ll need to be a qualified nurse registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). To work with the Scottish Nursing Guild, you’ll also need at least two years of experience working in a cath lab, with interventional cardiology experience, and be able to work calmly under pressure. Along with this, you’ll need to be a good team player and communicator and to have excellent attention to detail.
As well as having the relevant qualifications and experience, you’ll need:
We’re always looking for qualified cath lab nurses to join our team to work in temporary, last-minute placements in the NHS and private hospitals. You’ll need to work to our high standards and, in return, you’ll receive great rewards as well as professional support from us.