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Can J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2012 Summer;22(3):18-23.

The development and evaluation of a competency-based program for patients with a ventricular assist device.

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St. Paul's Hospital, Vancouver, BC.


The ventricular assist device (VAD) is a mechanical device that is used to provide long term support either as a bridge or as an alternative to transplantation for patients suffering from end stage heart failure. While in hospital, patients with a VAD have traditionally been taught by an educator nurse with VAD expertise in preparation for discharge. In 2004, our centre implemented a successful competency-based patient education program in post-heart transplant patients and thought that a similar program may provide increased confidence for bedside nurses to actively participate in VAD patient education prior to discharge. The purpose of this quality improvement project was to create a competency-based education program that would provide consistency in patient teaching. A questionnaire was developed and completed by 13 bedside nurses. This pre-test questionnaire indicated the need for a systematic and organized approach to VAD patient teaching. Furthermore, adequate resources, consistency in teaching methods, and feedback were seen to be essential. A pilot competency-based program was designed to lead bedside nurses and patients through a series of learning phases and has successfully been implemented. Since its implementation, the questionnaire has been repeated with results reflecting satisfaction with the revised competency-based program. Our findings and evaluation of the program through pre- and post-testing reflect an increase in organization in our teaching methods and has led to improved confidence and satisfaction for bedside nurses using this program. By redeveloping the current method of VAD education, our goal has been to improve the ways in which we deliver teaching to our patients. It is thought that, as with our experience in the post-heart transplant population, bedside nurses and team members will feel more empowered to provide teaching to patients with a VAD.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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