The Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF) was initiated as a project of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA) in collaboration with colleagues from the American Heart Association's Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing and the European Society of Cardiology's Association of Cardiovascular Nurses and Allied Professions. Aware of the global burden of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke and the importance of prevention, a major impetus for the formation of the GCNLF was recognition that nurses comprise the largest healthcare discipline preventing and managing risk for CVD on a global level. Within that context, the mission of the GCNLF has been to engage and mobilize an international community of nurses to promote prevention of CVD and stroke worldwide through research, education, policy, leadership, and advocacy.
Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association's International Committee launched several activities that were foundational to the GCNLF culminating in the first meeting in 2014 in New York City.1–3 Subsequent meetings were held in in Barcelona, Spain, in 2016 and in Lisbon, Portugal, in 2018.4,5 Virtual meetings of the GCNLF were held in 2020 and 2021. Participants at each of these meetings are leaders in cardiovascular and stroke nursing and come from the 6 World Health Organization (WHO) regions. Reaffirmed by the nursing leaders who participated in each of the meetings were the major mission-related goals: (1) champion a global nursing movement for CVD and stroke prevention across the life course of all individuals and families, (2) empower nurses worldwide on the science and practice of health promotion and CVD and stroke prevention, and (3) empower nurses as leaders in CVD and stroke prevention.3–5
Held in Copenhagen, Denmark, the 2022 meeting of the GCNLF provided opportunity to summarize and highlight the goal-related contributions and accomplishments of the GCNLF and its nurse leaders who have been actively engaged in research, patient and provider education, policy, and advocacy initiatives. The Chair of PCNA's International Committee (L.L.H.) presented an overview of major themes that emerged from GCNLF meetings including the strong commitment of nurses to global CVD prevention, the need for standardization and training in CVD prevention, the need to highlight and disseminate what nurses and nursing have accomplished in promoting CVD prevention and improving patient outcomes, and the importance of partnerships with key stakeholders including (but not limited to) WHO, the World Heart Federation, and Ministries of Health.3–5 The Cardiovascular Nursing Certificate Program, designed to enhance both knowledge and skills in cardiovascular care as well as support career advancement, was highlighted as a major accomplishment. Officially launched in 2021, the 12-module program has been completed by 321 nurses including those from Ghana, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Additional accomplishments that were highlighted at the 2022 meeting include the publication of the European Society of Cardiology, ESC Textbook of Cardiovascular Nursing,6 championed by Association of Cardiovascular Nurses and Allied Professions nurse leaders who are actively engaged with the GCNLF, the Guidance document focused on promoting cardiovascular nursing globally, an information flyer about coalition members and sponsors (available in several languages) and the 20 liaison organizations that endorse the mission and goals of the GCNLF. Of note, the GCNLF website (http://pcna.net/gcnlf/news-events) houses information on the Global Cardiovascular Nursing Certificate Program, patient education materials, the Guidance document, an information flyer, individual and collective success stories, and current and future events including webinars as well as information on our partners.
The 2022 meeting of the GCNLF featured 2 keynote presentations. Dr Sidney C. Smith, Jr, Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University of North Carolina, focused on the global burden of CVD and the critically important role of nurses and nursing in preventing as well as managing CVD.7,8 He noted that CVD is largely preventable yet remains a global epidemic.7,8 Dr Smith acknowledged (with passion) that health-related lifestyle behaviors are a cornerstone of prevention across the life course and that nurses, experts in behavior and behavior change, are well prepared and positioned to play pivotal roles in global CVD prevention efforts. He emphasized the need for collaboration among nurse leaders, partnerships with like-minded organizations and key stakeholders, and development of strategic plans designed to promote implementation of the important goals of GCNLF. Dr Smith encouraged the GCNLF and its nurse leaders from the 6 WHO regions to consider, as major foci, multifaceted efforts focused on hypertension, diabetes, and obesity. In highlighting messaging from recent meetings including the World Heart Summit 2022, Dr Smith noted that the major burden of CVD continues to be in low- and middle-income countries where hypertension, a major modifiable risk factor for CVD, is prevalent and where diabetes and obesity are also prevalent. He informed the GCNLF participants about the World Heart Federation's new initiative focused on a roadmap to digital health and mentioned the planned update on secondary prevention and cardiac rehabilitation indicating that nurses and nursing have much to offer and need to be actively involved.9
Dr Michele Acorn, Chief Nurse, Nursing and Programmes, International Council of Nurses (ICN), presented the second keynote titled, “Leveraging Nursing to Advance Global Cardiovascular Health.” After a comprehensive overview of the history, mission, and goals of ICN,10 she underscored the power and potential of nurses and nursing in advancing global cardiovascular health and endorsed the mission and goals of the GCNLF with emphasis on championing and advocating for active nursing involvement in multilevel, multisectoral efforts designed to reduce the risk and burden of CVD and to promote optimal cardiovascular health worldwide. Recognizing the adverse effects of the COVID pandemic on the global nursing workforce, Dr Acorn noted (with passion) that “we need to promote health, including mental health, in the nursing workforce.” She added, “Nurses are visible, viable, vocal and visionaries.” In discussing the mission and strategic pillars of ICN, Dr Acorn noted that representing nursing worldwide, advancing the profession, and promoting the well-being of nurses as well as advocating for the health of all patients is a major theme guiding ICN's current and planned activities.10
Consistent with key messages of Dr Smith, Dr Acorn underscored the critically important role of nurses and nursing in global CVD prevention and suggested that the GCNLF assume a leadership role in these processes. She suggested that the nurse leaders within GCNLF should move forward with joining the Global Nursing Leadership Institute as senior leaders and experts in cardiovascular nursing care. Dr Acorn encouraged submission of the GCNLF's ideas/abstracts and participation in the next ICN Congress scheduled for early July 2023 in Montreal, Canada.
The information and ideas shared by both keynoters fueled and informed the subsequent discussions of breakout groups that focused on specific strategies to optimize the mission and goals of the GCNLF in the respective 6 WHO regions. Action plans for going forward to realize these important GCNLF goals were articulated and timelines were identified. The commitment of PCNA and GCNLF in promoting optimal cardiovascular health for all individuals from diverse global populations was reaffirmed. The global cardiovascular nursing community will be kept abreast of progress toward achieving the GCNLF mission and goals that are closely aligned with those of WHO and World Heart Federation and focused on reducing the global risk and burden of CVD while promoting optimal cardiovascular health worldwide.
The efforts of PCNA staff in enabling this 2022 GCNLF meeting particularly Bailey Ackerman and Jessica Tokar are gratefully acknowledged. The cardiovascular nursing leaders who actively participated in the meeting and/or contributed to the development and implementation of the program are also gratefully acknowledged: Sulochana Badagabettu, Selina Berg, Sandi Dunbar, Robyn Gallagher, Eva Goosens, Theresa Green, Thomas Hinneh, Catrionia Jennings, Leonie Klompstra, Maria Teresa Lira, Tomoko Majima, Philip Moons, Samar Noureddine, Kevin Paray, Eileen Stuart-Shor, David Thompson, and Ying (Helen) Wu.
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10. International Council of Nurses. ICN annual report-2021—advocating for protection, value and investment in nursing. https://www.icn.ch/publications