Unravelling heart failure nurses' education: Content comparison of heart failure nurses' education in three European Society of Cardiology states and the Heart Failure Association heart failure curriculum

Karolien Baldewijns*, Hans-Peter Brunner-La Rocca, Lieven de Maesschalck, Aleidis Deville, Josiane Boyne

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Aims: The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines state that heart failure nurse specialists (heart-failure nurses) with specific competences are essential for a successful heart-failure-management programme. Thus, the Heart Failure Association (HFA) of the ESC developed the heart failure nurse curriculum (HFA curriculum). Several ESC member states developed cardiovascular education programmes to enable nurses to deliver high specialist care, but little is known of whether these curricula are in line with the HFA curriculum. Therefore, this paper describes the extent to which cardiovascular education programmes in Belgium, The Netherlands and Germany correspond to the HFA curriculum. Methods and results: A case study approach was adopted to obtain an in-depth understanding of the programme contents in relation to the HFA curriculum. For this purpose, representatives of the educational programmes and/or delegates of the national cardiovascular nursing organization shared their educational curricula. All of the studied cardiovascular education programmes aim to provide heart failure and/or cardiovascular nurses with essential competences for implementation of evidence based and guideline derived care. However, every cardiovascular education programme has a different focus/area of attention. Cardiovascular education in Belgium discusses aspects of all core-learning objectives of the HFA curriculum and emphasizes mostly knowledge aspects of these. Learning objectives in cardiovascular education in The Netherlands focus on chronic diseases in general and on learning objectives concerning patient education, support in self-care and management of device and pharmacological therapy. Cardiovascular education in Germany discusses most learning objectives; however, not all learning objectives receive equal attention. Conclusions: Although local cardiovascular education programmes adopt certain aspects of the HF curriculum, the curriculum as a whole is not adopted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)711-719
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing
Issue number8
Early online date19 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019


  • Heart failure
  • nurse specialist
  • evidence based nursing
  • curriculum
  • education
  • CARE

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