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Exclusive: Best practice toolkit aims to boost nurse CVD care

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All nurses should be “striving for excellence” in cardiovascular care, according to academics behind a set of new resources designed to inspire the profession.

Donna Fitzsimons, professor of nursing at Ulster University and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust, played a key role in the development of the best practice toolkit, which features a series of short films to show how nurses can champion best practice in their everyday work.

“If nurses take a more active role in implementing best practice then that could have a hugely positive effect”

Donna Fitzsimons

It is due to be launched later this month at the annual meeting of the European Society of Cardiology’s Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions (CCNAP) in Croatia.

Professor Fitzsimmons, a former chair of the CCNAP, told Nursing Times the aim was to inspire and encourage nurses to play a more active role in “implementing and disseminating” best practice in heart and stroke care.

“There are many more nurses around than there are consultants, so if nurses take a more active role in implementing best practice then that could have a hugely positive effect,” she said.

“This toolkit is there to inspire people, to get them to question what they do”

Donna Fitzsimons

Work had gone into making the CCNAP Guidelines Toolkit accessible and easy for busy nurses to understand and use, she added –  as well as ensuring key guidance was available in a range of formats including pocket versions and mobile phone apps.

Professor Fitzsimons said it was part and parcel of a new “creative” approach to nursing education to try and overcome barriers to learning and sharing good practice such as lack of time.

“Some of the hurdles nurses are being asked to navigate are so difficult that we felt they needed to be given information in a way that meant something to them so that’s why we’re using approaches like the video demos,” she said.

Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions

Donna Fitzsimons

“We all realise nursing is very busy job. This toolkit is there to inspire people, to get them to question what they do and be critical about their practice and that of the whole team,” she added.

“We all came into nursing to help people and make sure they are being well looked-after and part of it is about going back to those basic values,” she said. “It’s about being an advocate for the patient and going the extra mile to make sure they get the latest evidence applied to their care.”

The best practice guidelines and toolkit are not just for specialist cardiovascular nurses, stressed Professor Fitzsimons. “This is really important for practice nurses and nurses working in community settings too.”

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