Nurses' knowledge of heart failure guidelines in a Western Montana hospital
Heart failure (HF) is an epidemic. Five million people were diagnosed with the disease in 2006 and 550,000 new cases are being reported each year. HF is associated with a decreased quality of life and high mortality rate. It also accounts for 12-15 million office visits and 6.5 million hospital stays each year. Although there is no known cure for HF, understanding the disease and guidelines put forth by the American Heart Association as well as the Heart Failure Society of America, has been shown to decrease mortality, increase quality of life, and decrease hospital admissions. Healthcare workers play a vital role in educating HF patients about the disease, and as such, they themselves should be knowledgeable about what they teach. This study seeks to describe nurses' knowledge of the HF education guidelines in a western Montana hospital. A questionnaire was sent to 196 nurses working in a western Montana hospital testing their knowledge regarding the HF education guidelines. Only one nurse answered all questions correctly. The lowest score attained was 25% and the average score for the entire group was 72%. Demographic data explored was area worked (critical care versus non-critical care), years of experience, and educational preparation. The results of this study demonstrated that nurses working in a western Montana hospital may not be sufficiently knowledgeable regarding the HF education guidelines. Increased education may better prepare nurses to educate patients regarding the HF education guidelines. HF patients who are taught by educated nurses may receive a higher quality of education in which, perhaps, the patients will have a better understanding of their disease and the guidelines to increase quality of life and decrease mortality and hospital admissions rates.