Keeping Nurses Up-to-Date With Cardiovascular Care at a Safety-Net Facility

Monday, 30 October 2017

Jennifer L. Kitchens, MSN, BSN
Risk Management, Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Helen "Fran" Sercer, MSN
Eskenazi Health, Indianapolis, IN, USA
Janet S. Fulton, PhD
Adult Health Department, Indiana University School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN, USA

Purpose: To design and deliver an acute care educational program to enhance nurses’ knowledge about care of the cardiovascular patient at a safety-net facility.

Background and significance: Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. It is imperative that acute care nurses are well-educated and up to date in caring for this patient population.

Method/procedures: Several teaching strategies were used including classroom teaching, printed materials at point-of-care use, clinical demonstration of competence, and Journal Club. Classes include basic and advanced cardiovascular care, electrophysiology studies and management of post-cardiac catheterization patients. Skill acquisition includes EKG interpretation and cardiac sheath care and removal. Unit-based resources for reinforcement of learning include Rhythm of the Month, ECG Quick Reference to arrhythmias, and journal clubs.

Major outcomes: Nurses reported a preference for classroom courses and informational postings to on-line learning methods to enhance their cardiovascular knowledge. The “Care of the Cardiac Patient” course is held bi-weekly and offers 1.25 hours of continuing education units. In 2016, sixty one nurses have attended, and overall satisfaction with this course is 4.7/5 (5 equals most satisfied, 1 equals least satisfied). Ninety nurses attended the EKG and management of post-cardiac catheterization patients in 2016 with positive evaluations. Overall satisfaction with Journal Club is 3.8/4 (4 equals most satisfied, 1 equals least satisfied), and the number of attendees were: Women and Heart Disease (n=14) and Heart Failure (n=9). Staff nurses and managers reported satisfaction with the Rhythm of Month and ECG Quick Reference guide. Vascular access site complications for the first two quarters of 2016 for percutaneous coronary intervention patients compared favorably at 1.78% compared with 5.4% to 20% in the literature.

Conclusions and implications: This multifaceted strategy to cardiovascular education is well-received by staff nurses and managers. This approach could be used in other settings to improve specialty knowledge for staff nurses.