Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit (CVICU)



I'm Jimmy Barber, BSN, RN, CCRN-K, manager of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit.

To work in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, our nurses need to exhibit high levels of professional competency and have the ability to quickly focus and prioritize with an ever-changing environment of complex clinical situations.

If you like this type of environment, we look forward to meeting you!

Jimmy Barber, BSN, RN, CCRN-K
Manager, Cardiovascular ICU
Vanderbilt Heart and Vascular Institute
Vanderbilt University Medical Center

Unit Highlights:

Focus of Care Patient Demographic Number of Beds Certifications of Our Nursing Staff
Cardiac Surgery
Vascular Surgery
Medical and Interventional Cardiology
Cardiac and Pulmonary Transplant
Adults (18 and older) 27
  • BLS Required
  • ACLS and CCRN Preferred

About Us
The CVICU is a fast-paced, high acuity unit comprised of 27 critical care inpatient beds. All rooms are private.

The mission of the CVICU is to provide compassionate, quality care that is respectful, patient/family-centered, safe, and cost efficient. Our nurses are able to utilize advanced technology and evidence-based guidelines in caring for the patients in the CVICU. The staff experiences the professional satisfaction that comes with making a difference every day for their patients and families, while expanding their critical care knowledge base and applying critical thinking skills to understand and intervene in difficult and complex patient situations.

The patients cared for in the CVICU are adults. Post-operative adolescent, cardiothoracic surgical patients who can be treated with adult protocols and equipment may also be admitted to the CVICU.

Our population of patients may include MI, heart failure, cardiac dysrhythmias, structural heart disease, hypothermia post-cardiac arrest, ECMO, pre/post-op vascular and cardiac surgery, heart transplant, lung transplant and ventricular assist devices for destination or bridge to transplant therapy.

Patients in the CVICU are typically on one of the following services: medical cardiology, interventional cardiology, heart failure/transplant/VAD, cardiac surgery, vascular surgery, or thoracic surgery.

Computers are located in each of the patient rooms to facilitate bedside documentation and medication verification. The unit has three nursing stations with a centralized core of support rooms for supplies and inventory.

All beds are capable of NIBP, SpO2, arterial, pulmonary artery, cardiac output, BIS, temperature, and arrhythmia monitoring.

Management structure of the CVICU consists of the Unit Manager and 6 Clinical Staff Leaders. Each Clinical Staff Leader is responsible for 18-20 staff. The unit is also supported by a CVICU Nurse Educator and Clinical Nurse Specialist.

The staff is composed of RNs, Care Partners and Medical Receptionists.

RN assignments are determined by patient census and acuity. Normal RN ratios are 1:1 or 1:2. A Charge RN and a Help-All RN is scheduled for each shift.

All RNs complete a centralized hospital and nursing orientation, in addition to the unit orientation. The unit-specific CVICU competency-based orientation is structured to fit the needs of the experience level of the RN. In addition to a clinical, preceptor-based bedside orientation, RNs attend didactic classes in cardiovascular critical care, basic arrhythmia, device therapies (IABP, CRRT, VADs etc.), BLS, and ACLS review of clinical practice guidelines for the critically ill cardiovascular patient and return demonstrations with check-off procedures.

RNs with recent experience in cardiovascular critical care or experience in the acute care setting are preferred.

Facts about our unit:

  • Merged ICU Model Cardiac Surgery, Vascular Surgery, and Cardiac Medicine, Interventional Cardiology, Heart Failure/Ventricular Assist Device/Transplant.
  • Medical Directors for Cardiac Surgery and Cardiology oversee the activities of the unit
  • Nursing Management consists of Nurse Manager and 6 Clinical Staff Leaders (CSL). Each CSL is responsible for 18 20 of the CVICU staff.
  • The critical care team is composed of RNs, APRNs, NPs, MDs, PAs, RTs, Clinical Educator, CNS, Care Partners and Medical Receptionists.
  • Equipment /Devices utilized: Ventilators, PA Catheters, Ventricular Assist Devices, Intra-Aortic Balloon Pumps, Arterial Lines, CRRT, Hypothermia units, and ECMO.
  • CVICU serves as one of three ICUs that make up the Rapid Response Teams for VUMC adult hospital.
  • Collaborative multidisciplinary team rounding occurs daily.
  • Ongoing participation in a variety of cardiac-oriented research.
  • Active Nursing Shared Governance Unit Board and Education Committees.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Cardiovascular Service lines are consistently ranked in the top 50 programs in the US
  • PRC 5-Star Award
  • VUMC Nurse Residency Program Teamwork Award

Visit Our Website CVICU Website (for internal VUMC staff only; login required)


Recruitment Information:


Click to ApplyIf you are interested in applying to this unit, please visit Work at Vanderbilt: Achieve the Remarkable for current open positions.

                 Try using these keywords as searches to locate a position in the CVICU:
                 CVICU, cardiovascular surgery, vascular surgery, cardiology

We are currently looking for registered nurses with experience in Cardiac Progressive Care, Inpatient Cardiology, and CVICU for the following available positions which are posted on Work at Vanderbilt:  
• Registered Nurse 2 CC- Cardiac Progressive Care (5 South)- FT Nights (search by job code 1402060)
• Registered Nurse 2-CC- Inpatient Cardiology (7 North)- FT Nights (search by job code 1402062)
• Registered Nurse 2-CC- CVICU- FT Nights (search by job code 1401158)
Nurse Residency ProgramThis unit/area is a part of the Nurse Residency Program.
If you are a new grad, please visit our Nurse Residency Program section for more information.


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