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Guiding nurses in heart failure management

heart failure
A sample of Dianne Morales' heart failure guide.


For Dianne Morales ’11 MSN, RN, her independent study for the Graduate Nursing Program at Villanova was more than just a typical project. As a staff nurse on a medical telemetry/stroke unit at a local hospital, cardiovascular topics are close to her heart, as is teaching. As she finished her master’s degree specializing in nursing education, Dianne knew she wanted to have an impact in her field. She set out to develop an educational brochure for nurses about heart failure (HF).

Dianne investigated the topic and learned that studies have found nurses had a lack of knowledge about HF management principles. She directed her brochure, Nurses’ Guide to Heart Failure, towards nurses caring for patients with HF. “The reason I chose this project is because heart failure is a complicated disease, with multiple risks for readmission,” she explains. “With the changes in healthcare, hospitals will be getting less reimbursement for readmissions. The readmissions usually mean the patient did not understand or follow discharge instructions.” 

Using the latest guidelines and other literature, Dianne developed a brochure that addresses definitions, teaching methods, quick reference information on topics such as weight, nutrition and medications, plus additional resources. Her work can affect many patients in the future. Dianne notes, “Nurses are the ones providing this education and if they do not understand the principles of heart failure management, then they cannot properly educate the patients. I felt starting with educating nurses was an important matter.”