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Eur J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2003 Apr;2(1):57-65.

Information needs of myocardial infarction patients.

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School of Nursing and Midwifery Studies, Trinity Centre for Health Sciences, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin 8, Ireland.


The main objectives of this study were to assess the perceptions of patients immediately after their first myocardial infarction of their needs in a cardiac education programme and to compare these with their perceptions 6 weeks after the event and also with their nurse educators. The data were collected by a questionnaire, the cardiac patients' learning needs inventory which was administered to both patients and nurses. It comprised 37 "needs" items grouped into seven categories, each item to be scored into one of five levels of importance. There were 27 patients interviewed on the first occasion, of whom 18 responded to a postal questionnaire on the second occasion. A census of three groups of nurses was taken in the study, namely all nurses employed in one coronary care unit and in a cardiac ward at a large Dublin Hospital and all nurses employed as cardiac rehabilitation nurses/officers in Ireland at the time of commencement of the study. Sixty-eight nurses responded, a response rate of 80%. A key finding was that the responses were highly skewed, with two-thirds in the top grade ("very important") and less than 1% in the two lowest grades ("not important" and "somewhat important"). The overall response score distribution of the patients differed somewhat from that of the nurses, but this difference was accounted for by mainly three items, all in the "physical activity" category, namely "when to resume driving", "when to resume sexual activity", and "when to resume work", which the nurses scored high and the patients low. Both patients and nurses gave the highest mean scores to four items, namely "what to do when in chest pain", "what are the symptoms of a heart attack", "when to call a doctor", and "what to do to reduce the chance of another heart attack". The first three of these are in the "symptom management" category. These findings support previous studies on the topic. The findings also support the need for individualised nurse/patient negotiated cardiac teaching programmes that can be tailored to suit each patient's needs.

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