Heart Failure Awareness Week is Feb. 9–15

This year the Heart Failure Society of America and the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses’ themes for heart failure (HF) awareness are “Do Your Part, Know Your Heart” and “Know Your Why.” We all know that awareness campaigns focus on community education for early diagnosis, early treatment, and management to improve outcomes for our patients. However, HF awareness week also gives our UI Hospitals & Clinics HF team the opportunity to reflect on “knowing why in our hearts” we provide care for our HF patient population.

“As a nurse working with this patient population for over 20 years, I value the opportunity to teach patients about HF, the testing ordered, and the medical therapies prescribed. With chronic conditions, education on self-care management is essential and we all make a big impact in helping patients understand the importance of monitoring weights, sodium intake, and taking medications prescribed to them. Our team’s goal is to help our patients have better quality of life, stay out of the hospital, and live longer. It is immensely satisfying to work with patients from time of diagnosis and be accessible as they learn to adapt to life with HF, and that is why I am passionate about working with this patient population.”
Traci Stewart, RN, MSN, CHFN, heart failure and pulmonary hypertension nurse coordinator

“Offering patients the opportunity to obtain treatments not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration through clinical research is my area of expertise as a research coordinator. All of our currently approved therapies have been shown to benefit patients because someone with HF wanted to participate in a clinical trial. Knowing there are more treatment options on the horizon is my ‘why’ and gives us hope for our patients that we will continue to improve outcomes and survival for patients with HF.”
Page Scovel, RN, BSN, research coordinator

“I enjoy this patient population as heart health is relevant to ALL of us. However, those who are affected with a chronic illness really rely on their healthcare team and often we get to know these patients on a personal level. I enjoy seeing these patients and their families through different courses of their treatment and hopefully seeing improvement to the quality of their life.”
Amanda Yeast, RN, BSN, pediatric and adult heart transplant coordinator

“My ‘why’ after all these years is that I still feel that I make a positive difference for my long term heart transplant patients as they navigate through the health care system and all the changes that come with living for years and years with a transplanted organ. I still love the ability to help bring people “full circle” through their transplant experience. And I believe it makes a difference to THEM as well.”
Carolyn Laxson, RN, MSN, CCTC, adult heart transplant coordinator

“My why is that people don’t have to feel alone during what will likely be the most stressful and uncertain time in their lives. My why is knowing that I can be a constant for them and a continuous mode of support.”
Karen Anzelc, RN, BSN, RN-BC, adult heart transplant coordinator

“Teaching patients about heart pumps and how to live at home with a pump is my role on this team. We take someone who is very sick from HF and give them the opportunity to get back to doing the things they love in life. My why is being a part of making that happen.”
Carol Johnson, RN, BSN, PCCN, ventricular assist device nurse coordinator