Saving Lives, Heart Failure Nursing

Abigail Schwing, senior

With heart failure on the rise, the strain it will create on the health care system is imminent. Heart failure comes with a poor prognosis (around 50% of severe cases lead to death), high admission and readmission rates, and lengthy hospital stays.  These conditions perfectly pave the way for the emergence of nursing specialty in heart failure.

The heart failure nurse specialist manages the complex care of patients with heart failure. Patients with heart failure often receive less than optimal treatment and management of care, which ultimately leads to readmissions. Of the readmissions, 54% are preventable. Heart failure nurse specialist work to improve the care of patient and ultimately decrease the readmissions of their patients. Through collaboration, patient education, and support, these nurse specialists improve care for heart failure patients. Heart failure nurses also coordinate care for each patients and recognize that it takes a multidisciplinary team to manage patients care.

With the aging population and the increased survival after a myocardial infarction, heart failure is on the rise. Management of heart failure patients is complex, and many nurses are overstretched which leads to poorer patient outcomes. This not only creates a great financial burden on the healthcare systems, but it also creates a poor quality of life for heart failure patients. Generally, a minimum of two years of cardiology and five years’ post-registration experience is required. A Master’s level education is also preferred. A home based specialist caseload is about 200 patients per nurse.



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