World Heart Day: One clinical nurse educator's viewpoint
By: Michelle Krausz, RN, BSN | September 29, 2016
How education and support programs positively affect patients who have cardiovascular disease.
Clinical nurse educators serve as a direct link to patients' self-management of cardiovascular disease through patient education and support programs. Physicians prescribe many different drugs and heart-healthy lifestyle directives for their cardiovascular disease patients, but busy health care providers often lack the time to help patients understand, administer and adhere to drug therapies and guidelines.
As we observe World Heart Day today, I wanted to share how clinical nurse educators (CNEs) create a positive impact on cardiovascular disease management by working to promote patients' adherence to therapy through patient-centered heart health education and support. As a CNE myself, I see that impact first-hand.
Cardiology nursing is in important part of each CNE's work history in this field. Our previous clinical experience in cardiology fuels our fire for cardiovascular treatment and prevention. My personal passion springs from my experience as a cardio-thoracic intensive care nurse. Having cared for patients in their most critical moments after cardiac surgery inspires and motivates me to champion each patient's ability to self-manage their cardiovascular disease.
First and foremost, we build meaningful relationships with patients and their caregivers, physicians and staff. These relationships are key in enhancing a patient's ability to live a healthier life. We build these relationships by:
When we truly understand our patients, we can tailor our initial and follow-up education to meet each patient's specific learning and lifestyle needs. The knowledge and understanding we gain about our patients' fears, hopes and dreams allows us to more accurately educate and support them as they manage their cardiovascular disease.
I am grateful that my role as a CNE affords me the ability to best educate and support each patient. I share with all of my patients that knowledge is power, and it is my goal to empower them with knowledge so they may engage in informed discussions with their health care providers to make the best decisions regarding the management of their cardiovascular disease.
From my perspective, the future is bright for role of the clinical nurse educator within our current healthcare environment. Comprehensive, patient-centered education takes time. As increasing time constraints are placed upon physicians and staff, the need for the CNE and patient education and support programs is sure to grow. Patients and healthcare providers alike express appreciation for a cardiovascular disease management education program that offers crucial clinical information, ample time for learning, and follow-up education and support.
CNEs are a vehicle for improved patient health. We understand, educate, encourage and support patients along the road of cardiovascular disease self-management. Together with our patients, physicians, and staff, CNEs are on an important journey towards improved cardiovascular health — a journey that we can all take to heart.