This article identifies and explains barriers to optimal outcomes of heart failure and the role of the clinical nurse specialist in overcoming these obstacles, improving patient outcomes and quality of life. In recent years, advances in heart failure management have increased survival rates, and as a result, the number of patients requiring services to manage disease progression and the complex array of symptoms associated with end-stage heart disease. Management of the heart failure patient is dependent on the severity of the disease and wide range of available treatment regimens. Disease progression can be unpredictable and treatment regimens increasingly complex. The authors present a typical case of a patient with heart failure, identify the barriers to optimal outcomes in managing heart failure, as well as describe the roles of the clinical nurse specialist in overcoming these barriers within 3 spheres of clinical nurse specialist influence: patient, health care provider, and health care systems. The clinical nurse specialist role is ideally suited to positively affect heart failure outcomes. These positive effects are drawn from the dynamic and unique nature of the clinical nurse specialist role and are perpetrated through the 3 spheres of clinical nurse specialist practice: patient, health care provider, and heath care system.
Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, Baccalaureate Nursing Program, University of Pittsburgh, and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mrs Coen); and Cardiovascular Institute Allegheny Health Network, Allegheny General Hospital, and Clinical Nurse Specialist Program, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Mrs Curry).
Correspondence: Jennifer Coen, BSN, RN, 102 Hartle Rd Glenshaw PA 15116 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors have disclosed that they have no significant relationships with, or financial interest in, any commercial companies pertaining to this article.