How much responsibility should heart failure nurses take?
Author(s): Blue L, McMurray J
Affiliation(s): Heart Failure Liaison Service, Level 4 CRI, Western Infirmary, Dumbarton Road, Glasgow G11 6NT, UK.
Publication date & source: 2005-03-16, Eur J Heart Fail., 7(3):351-61.
Publication type: Review
This article examines the emerging role of the heart failure nurse and the responsibilities and educational and training requirements surrounding such a role. There may be variations in the role and its responsibilities in different health care settings. However the principles are similar and include: history taking, carrying out clinical assessment and making appropriate decisions about patient management within the context of practice. An example of this is nurse supervision of adjusting and titration of medication in a clinic setting or in the patient's own home. A major challenge to this role is defining the limitations and scope of practice. Patients with chronic heart failure (CHF) are generally a frail, elderly population, and often have significant other co-morbidities. They can be on multiple medications and are frequently prescribed sub-optimal doses of evidence-based medication. Many patients are not managed by specialists, thus creating a huge potential for improved management.