February celebrates American Heart Month and nurses everywhere have tools at their disposal to continue adding to their vast knowledge of heart health throughout the year. Whether you’re a nurse who specializes in cardiac care, one who works in other specialties, or a nurse considering making a career move into the cardiac field, many resources will help you find more information.
Nurses talk about heart health with patients because it has an impact on so many other health conditions and on a patient’s general quality of life. A healthy heart is critical to keeping the body functioning properly, and nurses are especially interested in helping healthy hearts stay that way. That might mean sharing education and resources so healthy patients are motivated to keep their blood pressure and cholesterol in check or in increasing their movement to keep their heart muscles strong. It also might entail assisting and educating patients who have any kind of cardiovascular disease or who have a genetic predisposition to it about lifestyle habits and medications that can help them manage and control their conditions.
How does cardiac care influence your nursing practice? If you’re interested in finding out more information to help your patients or to keep your own cardiovascular health on track, you’ll find resources that benefit your professional and personal life.
Here are a few heart-focused organizations that offer valuable resources.
The Preventative Cardiovascular Nurses Association is a national nursing association committed to helping prevent and manage heart health problems. This organization offers extensive clinical resources (patient education and provider focused) that are available for free. Nurses across the healthcare spectrum will likely find something within the resources they can use with their own practice and populations. From angina and hereditary conditions to an atrial fibrillation and stroke infographic to many tips sheets, nurses will find helpful information.
Nurses who work with patients living with heart failure will find the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses to be a necessary connection. If you work with patients experiencing and managing heart failure, this professional organization will offer the kinds of resources, professional development, and networking that will simultaneously build your knowledge base while connecting you with nurses in the same specialty. Because folks living with heart failure face distinct challenges, AAHFN promotes the best care outcomes while continuing to advance nursing care progress.
The American Heart Association has many groups dedicated to cardiac health and the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) is for nurses who work in the cardiovascular care field. Nurses who are interested in policies, educational change, industry advocacy, and groundbreaking research will find this organization’s wealth of information of great use. The CSVN offers guidance and resources directed toward many nursing needs–from nurses who want information to help patients improve their cardiac health to those who are looking for a mentor. It also offers clinical symposiums and potential funding resources for nurse scientists who are doing research.
If you work with patients who are impacted by cardiovascular disease, you can look to certification to help you provide the most current cardiac care. The Cardiac Vascular Nursing Certification (CV-BC™) is for nurses who have an RN and who want to increase their understanding of cardiovascular care. This certification is good for five years and, as with other nursing certifications, signals to the wider community that you have a commitment to your nursing practice and that you are equipped with cutting-edge knowledge of the best practices.
Cardiovascular health impacts patients on all levels–from prevention to disease management. Nurses who specialize in the field have a wide community they can learn from and share knowledge with during American Heart Month or at any time of the year.
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