Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse

What Is a Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse?

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States, accounting for one of every four deaths annually, as per the American Heart Association. Cardiovascular operating room (CVOR) nurses are among the health care professionals who work around the clock to lower these numbers. These clinicians are members of the surgical services and operating room teams which care for cardiovascular patients before, during, and after open-heart surgical procedures. CVOR nurses are responsible for assisting surgeons with tasks involved during surgical procedures which include operating cardiopulmonary bypass/heart-lung machines, administering and monitoring anesthesia, and more.

What Are Some Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse Duties?

Common duties that CVOR nurses are tasked with are likely to include:

  • Conduct and document patient assessments
  • Ensure that proper protocol is followed throughout surgeries
  • Administer and monitor anesthesia
  • Monitor vital signs
  • Ensure patient safety
  • Apply wound dressings
  • Ensure that surgical instruments are sterile
  • Provide education to patients and their families
  • Plan, assess, and evaluate patient care plan before, during, and after surgical procedures
  • Administer medications
  • Maintain records of the outcomes of surgical procedures
  • Assist physicians in the creation and implementation of individualized treatment plans for patients

Where Do Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurses Work?

CVOR nurses can find employment wherever heart surgeries are performed, including:

  • Hospital operating rooms
  • Cardiovascular surgery centers
  • Travel nursing agencies

How to Become a Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse

Becoming a CVOR nurse starts with obtaining the appropriate nursing degree and gaining some medical-surgical skills. At this point, if you don't already have them, it might be wise to gain a Basic Life Support (BLS) certification, Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) certification, and a Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification. A strong knowledge base in cardiovascular issues and a passion for surgical nursing are a must for the role.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

To become a CVOR nurse, the following educational requirements must be met:

  • Hold an Associate's Degree in Nursing (ADN) or a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN pre-licensure exam
  • Hold an active and unrestricted RN license

Do Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurses Need an RN Degree?

Yes, due to the surgical assisting skills required, CVOR nurses will need to hold active and unrestricted RN licenses in the state they are practicing in. A BSN degree or higher is preferred for the role.

Step 2: Required Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse Certifications/Credentials

To be competitive in the job market, CVOR nurse aspirants are advised to hold the CNOR certification for perioperative nurses, which is offered by the Competency & Credentialing Institute. To be eligible for the CVOR certification, individuals will need to have fulfilled the following requirements prior to submitting their applications:

  • Hold an active and unrestricted RN license
  • Be currently employed in perioperative nursing in one of the following areas:
    • Research
    • Education
    • Administration
    • Clinical Practice
  • Have at least two years or 2,400 hours of experience in a perioperative nursing setting

*CVOR nurse aspirants are also advised to hold the BLS Certification and either the ACLS and/or the PALS certifications which are offered by the American Heart Association as many employers will require them

Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment

There are two main reasons why CVOR nurses will remain in high demand in the coming years. First, cardiovascular disease is the most common cause of death in the country. Second, surgical departments are enormous revenue generators for hospitals. So, not only are CVOR nurses needed, but they're also highly profitable for employers.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Ability to work well in teams, strong attention to detail, critical thinking skills, ability to work effectively in stressful/critical situations, meticulous documentation skills, ability to work well with hands, and ability to stand on feet for long hours at a time
  • Job Outlook - The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the number of available jobs opportunities for RNs will increase by about 16% between 2014 and 2024. It's likely that the demand for CVOR nurses will increase in accordance with this figure.

What Is the Average Salary of a Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurse?

According to ZipRecruiter, the average salary for CVOR nurses working in the U.S. is approximately $93,882. The earning potential for these nurses will depend heavily on factors like the city and state of their employment, their education levels, certifications held, and how much experience they have. In addition to their yearly salaries, CVOR nurses can expect to receive a number of benefits from their employers, such as medical insurance and an annual allotment of sick leave and/or paid time-off each year. Retirement and life insurance plans are usually made available by employers as well.

How Much Do Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurses Make per Year?

  • $75,000 – $115,500 annually

How Much Do Cardiovascular Operating Room Nurses Make per Hour?

  • $45.00 average hourly wage

CVOR Nurse Resources