A Cardiac Cath Lab Nurse is the Green Beret of the nursing world. A Cardiac Catheterization RN is the fiercest patient advocate.

In the patient’s hour of absolute deepest need, the hero appears…no, not the doctor.  The patient’s fiercest advocate is their cath lab nurse.  Cath lab nurses carry the sole responsibility for the primary patients advocacy.  Everyone else on the cath lab team (the doctor, allied health professionals) have their own dedicated role that requires full focus on that purpose.  The nurse is the true advocate for the patient in the room.

That responsibility is heavy and stressful.  Standing up to a doctor and shutting down the case if necessary. It takes a very certain alpha-type to survive and thrive as a cath lab nurse.  Cath lab nurses are amazingly quick – calculating drip formulas on the fly while locating the nearest crash cart with the all too familiar..beep…beep…beeeeeeeeeep ringing in the background?  It takes a very unique nurse to work in the cath lab. 

We have over 70 years of experience – in Cath Lab.

Why Work with Phoenix?

Unlike other staffing agencies, at Phoenix we tell you the bill rate of your assignment. On top of that, we don't profit on your extra hard work (OT, CBOT, DT, On Call Hours) - we only cover our costs of Worker's Comp and taxes.

We staff both nurses and technologists and we know what the alphabet soup means...

At Phoenix, we make sure to ask every single question that matters.  We have over 7 decades of experience – in Cath Lab.  Not Med/Surg, ER, Tele, not LVNs, CNAs or other.  Not to say we won’t help our hospitals with other modalities (after all, we would never turn away an ICU referral from one of our CCL team members!), but our bread, butter, honey and spice is Cardiac Cath Lab, Interventional Radiology and Electrophysiology.  

We staff both nurses and technologists and we know what the certifications alphabet soup means – we know RNs can carry RCIS, RCES, IBHRE (both CEPS and CCDS).  We know RNs can scrub and push fluoro in certain states.  We know how big of a mistake it is when a nurse shows up to an assignment expecting 4 person call teams only to find out it’s a 3 person team – with one nurse.  We know how frustrating it is for a nurse to start working on Day 1 without Pyxis access.

Our approach to travel staffing for cardiac cath lab nursing is different.  It needs to be different.  We can truthfully say that we require cath lab recruiters to view a case in person from start to finish.  It’s a required part of our recruiter training.  We know that the beeper could go off at any time and our conversation is over in an instant – so we have a short time to open up and prove our credibility to you.  We’re going to approach you as the nursing professionals you are…and staffing professionals we are.  We want to win your trust based on competence and transparency.

We have the best Cath Lab relationships in the country and that leads to the best jobs, happiest nurses and most successful placements.

We’re calling you because we know that you are uniquely qualified and we know the value of your nursing skill set and the best place to practice, learn and grow.

Why is Phoenix MedStaff a Trusted
Cath Lab Travel Agency?

We're serving the Cath Lab Nurse community because we provide value...

Cardiac catheterization labs call themselves dysfunctional families for a reason.  In such high pressure situations with high performing individuals, there is inevitably conflict – and then high fives right after.  The ability for the team to function at such a breakneck speed requires everyone to be operating at peak levels in familiar environments with familiar equipment. 

When you travel with Phoenix, our value extends further than just helping pick a Cardiology job...

Happier nurses are more focused nurses, which leads to better healthcare and better patient outcomes.  Once you leave the hospital, you are expected to manage your credential expirations.  We believe we offer best in class employee benefits:

  • We pay for your nursing licensures (each state)
  • We pay for nursing credentials (RCIS, RCES, IBHRE, CCRN)
  • We pay for CPR (ACLS, BLS)
  • We pay for medical items when onboarding for an assignment

Top Tier Employee Healthcare, PTO & Retirement Benefits...

  • Medical, dental, vision (with free option for single employees)
  • Short term, long term and crisis disability
  • 401K employer match of 5% – vested and starting Day 1
  • Maximum PTO accrual – vested and starting Day 1
  • Legal assistance plans

Experience matters in Cardiac Vascular Nursing...

When people work with different travel nursing companies, we hear this all too often – “Why does Rookie Ryan earn the same as Pro Patty when Patty has 20 more years of experience?”  Our nurse experience policy does not allow this to happen.  The more relevant experience you have, the more you get paid.

We’ll help you find the Right Cath Lab Nurse job...

The types of medical equipment on site, the on call structures, the cardiac department organization…that info is not posted in your typical travel cath lab nurse’s job description but is absolutely critical to you feeling comfortable to nurse cardiac cath on your first day or feeling like you’re playing catch up.  And these nuances are not as important when you get into floor nursing so a lot of agencies do not focus on it.  But the details matter in cardiac cath labs! 

Am I ready to travel in the Cath Lab?

What do Cardiac Cath Lab Nurses do?

The cardiac cath lab nurse is arguably the most essential part of the cardiovascular medical team performing the coronary procedure.  A cardiac catheterization lab nurse can work non-invasive cardiovascular cases to life saving invasive surgery like Angioplasty, Stenting and Rotablating.  During a cardiac catheterization, a cath lab nurse’s primary nursing responsibility is the wellbeing of the patient – nobody else on the medical team has that ultimate responsibility.  During a coronary catheterization procedure, cardiac cath lab nurses most commonly perform the Circulating role, sedating the patient and administering further medication per the physician’s guidance.  

The difference between a good cardiac cath nurse and a great cardiac cath nurse is the ability to coordinate the Circulating role with the doctor’s process and adapt to the changing direction of the case in an instant.  Good nurses recognize key vital markers and patterns quickly and instantaneously compute Fractional Flow Reserve ratios.  Good critical thinking skiils are essential to a cath lab nurse’s success.

Every cardiology travel nurse job will expect cardiac catheterization laboratory nurses to be able to jump right in (“plug and play”).  A hospital needs a contract cardiac cathlab nurse because of an emergency (staff leaves, vacations, etc) – after all, a cath lab nurse’s key ability is based on problem solving and critical thinking.  Nurses are expected to be “plug and play” – a day of orientation, some time for the individual lab details and a few questions about physician preferences and it’s time to rock and roll.  

Cardiac catheterization lab nurses careers can be greatly accelerated through travel cardiac nursing.  Cardiac nurses see how different physicians operate, how a cardiac clinic performs different procedures, how a cath lab nurse’s role changes state to state…cardiac vascular nursing brings the opportunity to work on the frontier of life-saving treatments and therapies. 

Nurse or tech, cath lab nursing is demanding.  But the most demanding lab nurse job is always the most rewarding!  

How does the pay work as a travel cardiac nurse? How does that compare to my cardiac RN salary?

Cath lab nurse jobs are very lucrative, but travel nursing agencies generally don’t use the term “salary”.  So how do we compare nursing jobs?  In order to properly compare a cardiac nurse staff position to travel nurse compensation, you need to compare what gets deposited in the bank, less any extra expenses (like a second place to live while you work in another city).

Let's break it down...

Travel nursing pay, for example, would include compensation buckets for the following:

  • Taxable wages (most commonly compared to your earning hourly wage at a hospital)
    • Separate rates for regular hours, OT hours, CBOT, DT and On Call
  • Stipend (tax free amount used to cover living / work expenses below)
    • Usually capped by the weekly days or hrs worked
    • 4 10-hour shift schedule will be capped at 40, while 3 12’s would be capped at 36
  • Sign on or extension bonuses
  • Employer paid benefits (health insurance premiums, PTO or 401K matching)

Additionally, some extra expenses to include in your comparison:

  • Extra rent
  • Food
  • Parking or other professional services
  • The expense stipend is meant to cover these expenses

As a staff nurse, your lab nurse cardiac pay is primarily comprised of:

  • Taxable wages determined by clinical ladder
  • No tax-free stipend
  • Sign on bonuses available on occasion, but not regularly

Travel jobs are able to bestow tax benefits as some of the funds are used to cover secondary living expenses used in the course of work, however it makes rates hard to compare.  The best way to compare a salary job to a lab tech travel job is converting the salary to an hourly rate and “grossing up” the stipend to compare all-taxable hourly rates apples to apples. 

  • Salary of $120,000 = ($120,000 / 52 weeks / 40 hours per week) = $57.69
  • Travel Job with $35 taxable per hour and $1000 stipend per week
    • $1000 = $1000 / 40 hours per week = $25 / hour
  • We want to know how a $25 / hour nontax rate compares to a taxable rate
    • $25 nontax = $25 / (1 – tax rate)
    • Tax rate includes payroll taxes, income taxes (state and fed)
    • $25 nontax = $25 / (1 – 25%) = $33.33
  • To properly compare the staff wage of $57.69, the travel position pays a comparable rate of $68.33 ($35.00 plus $33.33)

Travel jobs usually refer to compensation as the “Gross Weekly”.  This is the amount that is all of your working hours multiplied by all of the wage rates, but does not include any additions for on call, OT, or CBOT because these are all “unscheduled” hours and you haven’t worked yet so the “Gross Weekly” estimate is just the scheduled hours (just regular hours).

When compared to a hospital job paycheck, the actual amount that gets deposited into your bank account is considerably higher due to the tax advantages of the stipend. 

Where are the best CCL nursing jobs (CCL, IR or EP)?

The age old question! And of course, it comes with a two part answer:

Historically, the highest rates for nurses in the country have always come from the West Coast, and California in particular.  The highest rates are typically in Cath Lab departments looking for someone with strong circulating experience, willing to take work in the Interventional Radiology department at the same time.

Since Covid arrived, the rest of the markets have caught up and can now exceed cath lab travel nurse jobs in California, especially when considering the lower cost of living in these other areas.  Additionally, the increase in stroke programs has made IR RNs more specialized so rates have increased there as well.


The longer answer is….how can you say what the best nurse job is?  Every single cath lab nurse has their own preferences for the types of cases and equipment, the size of the lab, the patient demographic information, what they’re allowed to do (circ, monitor, scrub, run the stim, etc). 

The best advice is to travel with a company that knows the details about the labs or at the very least, will fight with you to get all the information.

For the latest monthly trends and in each of the specialties, check out our Monthly Market report, the Phoenix Heartbeat!

How do I know which Cardiac Cath Nurse assignment is right for me?

The better question is…what can you get from the jobs that are on the job boards?  Not a whole lot when it comes down to the nitty gritty.  When it comes to cath lab, talking on the phone with one of our lab advisors is a big help.  

Maybe you’re looking to gain some experience with rotablators or want to shoot for dedicated EP jobs.  Maybe this time you want to look at a job that give you a little more outdoorsy life, whereas another job lets you see family in the city.  Every single time you search cath lab jobs is an opportunity to gain new life experiences, both personal and professional.  And we’d love to be there for the ride!

Talk to a Cath Lab Advisor - it’s free and we love to chat lab gossip!

For days and days…the lab gossip never stops.  And we love to hear about the fun stories from the pre-Covid days!  If you want to know any back stories or get the real deal info on a lab, give us a call.  We cherish the chance to hear about your experiences and to share ours.  It’s how we get better!

Interview, interview, interview!

Take a few interviews and hone the skills.  See how different healthcare facilities run their travel staffing programs.  Each manager will ask different questions, so practice makes perfect!

Check out our Cath Lab Interview questions to get an idea!

So, what are you waiting for?

Join the flock and get in touch with a recruiter today!

Apply Now