Complete Guide to the Cardiology Nurse Practitioner (CNP) Specialty

Last Updated/Verified: Mar 19, 2024

Definition: What Is a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner?

A Cardiology Nurse Practitioner (CNP) is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who specializes in providing comprehensive cardiovascular care to patients. CNPs in cardiology possess the expertise to diagnose, treat, and manage a wide range of cardiac conditions, working in collaboration with physicians and other healthcare professionals to optimize patient outcomes. These professionals have a deep understanding of both the medical and nursing aspects of cardiology, enabling them to deliver holistic care that addresses not only the physical health of patients but also their emotional and psychological well-being.

Scope of Practice

The scope of practice for cardiology nurse practitioners is multifaceted and extends across various domains of cardiology care. Their versatile skill set allows them to manage acute and chronic cardiac conditions, monitor patients’ progress, and adjust treatment plans as necessary. CNPs are qualified to perform the following:

  • Conduct comprehensive patient assessments
  • Order and interpret diagnostic tests
  • Develop personalized treatment plans
  • Prescribe medications
  • Educate patients about cardiovascular health and disease prevention
  • Assist with surgeries and other procedures under the supervision of cardiologiststs

Skills & Abilities

Cardiology nurse practitioners possess a unique set of skills and abilities tailored to the intricacies of cardiovascular care. Their expertise encompasses clinical assessment, advanced physical examination techniques, and the interpretation of complex diagnostic data, such as electrocardiograms, echocardiograms, and stress tests. CNPs also excel in risk assessment, recognizing potential complications, and providing evidence-based interventions. Their proficiency in communication and patient education plays a crucial role in empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their cardiac health, fostering a collaborative and patient-centered approach to care.

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Certification & Subspecialties

To become a certified cardiology nurse practitioner, candidates typically need to complete a Master’s or Doctoral level nursing program with a specialization in cardiology. After obtaining the required education, individuals can pursue certification through organizations like the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) or the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP).

CVNP-BC (Cardiac Nurse Practitioners Level IV)Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (RN-BC)
OrganizationAmerican Board of Cardiovascular MedicineAmerican Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
Cost$429.95Non-ANCC member – $395
American Nurses Association members – $295
Society for Vascular Nursing members – $340
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association members – $340
Number of Questions250150
Eligibility RequirementsHave 2+ years of practice as a nurse practitioner OR
Have been a cardiac RN prior to becoming an NP
Extensive knowledge of the cardiology field
Hold a current RN license (or international equivalent)
Have completed two years of full-time nursing
Have 2,000+ hours of clinical practice in cardiovascular nursing (completed in the last three years)
Have 30+ hours of continuing education in cardiovascular nursing (completed in the last three years)

Once you’ve become certified, many subspecialties within cardiology will open up. Subspecialties within the field of cardiology nurse practitioners may include areas such as

  • Heart failure
  • Electrophysiology
  • Interventional cardiology
  • Preventive cardiology

These subspecialties offer opportunities for CNPs to deepen their expertise and focus on specific aspects of cardiovascular care.

Becoming a Cardiology Nurse Practitioner

Becoming a cardiology nurse practitioner requires a comprehensive educational journey. Aspiring CNPs typically begin with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, followed by gaining experience as a registered nurse. Many then pursue a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a specialization in cardiology. These advanced programs equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to provide specialized care to patients with cardiovascular conditions. After completing their education, individuals can seek national certification and licensure as nurse practitioners, enabling them to practice as a CNP in the field of cardiology.

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Employment Opportunities

Cardiology nurse practitioners find employment opportunities in a variety of healthcare settings. These include hospitals, cardiology clinics, cardiovascular surgery centers, academic medical centers, and private practices. CNPs play a crucial role in both inpatient and outpatient care, collaborating closely with cardiologists, cardiac surgeons, and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and patient-centered cardiovascular care. Their ability to manage a diverse range of cardiac conditions makes them valuable assets in multidisciplinary care teams.

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Salaries

Cardiology nurse practitioner salaries can vary based on factors such as geographic location, years of experience, level of education, and healthcare setting. Cardiology nurse practitioners, given their specialization and advanced expertise, may command salaries at the higher end of the spectrum. These professionals are often compensated competitively for their contributions to the complex and critical field of cardiovascular care. The median annual salary for a cardiology nurse practitioner as of 2023 is $124,340.