• Course Format

    eLearning/Self-directed course

  • Course Access

    1 year unlimited access 24/7 to the online course

  • Course Length

    572 minutes

  • Study Guide

    Downloadable PDF Study Guide

  • Contact Hours


  • Certificate of Completion

    Printable CE Certificate


The Cardiac Surgery Certification (CSC®) Review Course is designed to follow the AACN Certification test plan for the CSC® exam. This subspecialty certification will assist nurses working with acutely/critically ill adult cardiac surgery patients in the first 48 hours post-operatively.

The course is perfect for nurses working with cardiovascular surgery patients.

Learning Objectives

At the completion of this eLearning, participants should be able to:

Test Plan & Cardiac Basics

  • Discuss normal blood flow through the myocardium

  • Describe coronary perfusion and walls each coronary vessel supplies

  • Discuss common cardiovascular medications used for acute coronary syndrome & heart failure management


  • Describe preload, afterload & contractility and the effects when decreased or elevated

  • Discuss the use of the pulmonary artery catheter & interventions to treat abnormal values

  • Discuss the hemodynamic findings of different shock states (Cardiogenic, hypovolemic, vasoplegic)

  • Describe vasoactive infusions including vasopressors, positive inotropes and vasodilators and the effects on hemodynamics

Cardiac Surgery

  • Discuss the difference between on and off pump coronary artery bypass grafting

  • Describe cardiac complications after cardiac surgery

  • Discuss signs of cardiac tamponade & how to treat it

  • Analyze the anatomy of the 12 Lead ECG

  • Describe ECG leads that visualize different walls of the myocardium

  • Discuss the differences between inferior, right ventricular, anterior, lateral & posterior wall Mis

  • Discuss medication therapies for acute coronary syndrome (ACS)

  • Discuss types of aortic dissection and treatment strategies

Valve Surgery & Procedures

  • Describe the difference between valvular regurgitation (insufficiency) and stenosis

  • Discuss treatment modalities and surgical options for aortic, mitral & tricuspid valve dysfunction

Bleeding, Coagulopathies & Anticoagulation

  • Discuss strategies for bleeding reversal

  • Discuss antidotes for anticoagulants

Electrical Issues

  • Describe medications used to treat rapid rhythms (afib vs. SVT)

  • Discuss the MAZE procedure to treat Afib

  • Discuss treatment modalities for symptomatic bradycardia

  • Describe emergent pacing options including transcutaneous & epicardial pacing

  • Discuss emergent, temporary pacing codes

  • Analyze ACLS vs. CALS for cardiac arrest management

Pulmonary Complications

  • Analyze arterial blood gas results

  • Discuss various pulmonary complications after cardiac surgery including atelectasis, pneumonia, TRALI, ARDS, TACO and pneumomediastinum

Everything Else

  • Discuss management of acute kidney injury including hemodialysis and CRRT

  • Describe common electrolyte imbalances and treatments

  • Discuss stroke management after cardiac surgery

  • Identify signs of post-operative delirium and management

What Nurses Are Saying About This Online Course


Fun, easy to understand and remember

Maria Chiara Thalla

I’ve been waiting for this course since after I finished the Hemodynamics Boot Camp and CMC Review Course. As always, Nicole made this one fun, easy to under...

Read More

I’ve been waiting for this course since after I finished the Hemodynamics Boot Camp and CMC Review Course. As always, Nicole made this one fun, easy to understand and remember. Here’s to achieving that CVICU Nursing trifecta and the CCRN-CSC-CMC title!

Read Less

Course Curriculum

  • 1

    Welcome to the Cardiac Surgery Certification Review Course

    • Read First: How To Navigate This Course

    • Download Handouts Here!

  • 2

    Module 1: Course Overview

    • Lesson 1: Course Overview & CSC® Test Plan

  • 3

    Module 2: Cardiac Basics

    • Lesson 1: Cardiac Anatomy

    • Lesson 2: Heart Sounds

    • Lesson 3: Cardiac Medications

  • 4

    Module 3: Hemodynamics

    • Lesson 1: Basic Hemodynamic Concepts

    • Lesson 2: The Pulmonary Artery Catheter

    • Lesson 3: Applying the Numbers

    • Lesson 4: Vasoactive Medications: Pressors and Inotropes

    • Lesson 5: Hypertension and Vasodilators

    • Lesson 6: Shock States

    • Lesson 7: Mechanical Circulatory Support

  • 5

    Module 4: Cardiac Surgery

    • Lesson 1: Coronary Artery Bypass Graft (CABG)

    • Lesson 2: Cardiac Complications

    • Lesson 3: Cardiac Ischemia

    • Lesson 4: The 12 Lead ECG

    • Lesson 5: Thoracic Surgery & Aneurysms

  • 6

    Module 5: Valve Surgery & Procedures

    • Lesson 1: Murmurs

    • Lesson 2: Aortic Valve Dysfunction

    • Lesson 3: Mitral Valve Dysfunction

    • Lesson 4: Tricuspid Valve Dysfunction

    • Lesson 5: Endocarditis & Inflammatory Issues

  • 7

    Module 6: Bleeding, Coagulopathies & Anticoagulation

    • Lesson 1: Bleeding Reversal

    • Lesson 2: Anticoagulation

  • 8

    Module 7: Electrical Issues

    • Lesson 1: Atrial Arrhythmias

    • Lesson 2: Bradycardias & Emergent Pacing

    • Lesson 3: Cardiac Arrest

  • 9

    Module 8: Pulmonary Complications

    • Lesson 1: ABG & Capnography Review

    • Lesson 2: Pulmonary Complications

  • 10

    Module 9: Everything Else!

    • Lesson 1: Neurologic Impairment

    • Lesson 2: Kidney Injury

    • Lesson 3: Electrolyte Imbalances

  • 11

    Module 10: Wrap Up & Next Steps!

    • Wrap Up & Thank You!

  • 12

    Course Quiz

    • CSC® Certification Review Quiz

  • 13

    Course Evaluation

    • CSC® Certification Review Evaluation



Nicole Kupchik

Nicole Kupchik has been a critical care nurse for over 25 years. Originally from Northwest Indiana, she worked as a traveling nurse and settled in Seattle, WA in 1998. She graduated from Purdue University in 1993 and in 2008 obtained a Master of Nursing as a Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Washington.

After moving to Seattle, Nicole took great interest in Resuscitation while working at Harborview Medical Center. She was part of a team who wrote one of the first protocols in the US for Therapeutic Hypothermia after cardiac arrest and has published numerous papers on the topic. In 2009, she led a team that launched an award-winning Sepsis Alert System.

In 2013, Nicole founded Nicole Kupchik Consulting, Inc. She has taught CCRN® & PCCN® Certification Review courses for over 10 years and has helped thousands of nurses achieve certification! She strongly believes every nurse can and should be board certified in their specialty!

In 2017, Nicole published "Ace the CCRN®: You Can Do It" Study Guide and Practice Question Book as well as well as "Ace the PCCN®: You Can Do It" Study Guide and Practice Question Book. In 2018, she published "Ace the CMC®: You Can Do It" Study Guide. Her latest book, "Ace the CSC®: You Can Do It!" Study Guide for the Cardiac Surgery Certification was published in March 2019.


Nicole Kupchik Consulting, Inc. is an approved provider by the California Board of Registered Nursing. Provider number 16363. Approved for 9.5 CE Contact Hours.

Refund Policy

Our policy is valid for a period of 30 calendar days from the date of the purchase. If the period of 30 days has lapsed since the purchase, we can't, unfortunately, offer you a refund. In addition, once the course has been accessed, there are no refunds available.

Extension Policy

All courses will be limited to a maximum of one extension. The one-time extension is valid for 6 months @ 40% of the full cost of the course. Extension requests must be received via email at info@kupchikconsulting.com.

Expiration Time

Access to the course expires 1 year after purchase, regardless of when the course is accessed. Please note, courses are set to expire at 00:00 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) on the expiry date.

For example, students in Pacific Standard Time (UTC 8 hrs ahead), will find their class expires at 4:00 PM PST. Due to the major time difference, we have set all courses to expire on day 366 so you receive a full year of access plus a few bonus hours.