Letter from the President

Cheryl R. Dennison Himmelfarb, RN, ANP, PhD, FAHA, FPCNA, FAAN

Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Baltimore, MD

 I appreciate the opportunity to reflect on my first year as President of PCNA and eagerly anticipate the progress we will see in the upcoming year.  I am pleased to see that the PCNA continues to advance the role and recognition of nurses as local and global leaders in cardiovascular disease (CVD) and stroke prevention.  In the past year, an update of the Cardiovascular Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice was published.1  In this document, with PCNA representation, the workgroup delineated the following key elements of cardiovascular nursing: 1) development of programs that promote heart health; 2) education and counseling about heart health; 3) interventions that reduce risk factors; 4) individualized evidence-based interventions that maintain or improve physiologic, psychological, and psychosocial health; 5) interventions that facilitate and optimize behavioral change and treatment adherence over time; 6) conducting research; and 7) advocacy to support patients and families during the planning, implementation, and evaluation of their care.  Excellence in cardiovascular nursing requires advanced cardiovascular knowledge and skills. 

In recognition of the individual and collective contributions that nurses have made in CVD and stroke prevention and the promise of empowering nurses as global cardiovascular leaders, the PCNA has established the Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF).2  The GCNLF is designed to champion a global nursing movement for CVD and stroke prevention across the lifespan of individuals and families from both developed and developing countries.  The GCNLF is promoting a master plan for international nursing organizations to identify and facilitate optimal ways in which nurses and nursing organizations can be more effective in CVD and stroke prevention worldwide.  The long-term goals of this forum are to elevate the role of cardiovascular and stroke nursing globally and to affect CVD prevention and treatment around the world. 

In addition, the evidence base for CVD and stroke prevention and care continues to rapidly evolve.  The PCNA has contributed in important ways to the development and dissemination of numerous recent clinical guidelines.  Furthermore, PCNA has recently focused strategic planning efforts on enhancing the content and delivery of our professional and continuing education and patient education.  We will strive to build on our highly successful past efforts while identifying innovative new approaches that best meet the needs of our members and the broader CVD and stroke prevention professional community so they may successfully rise to the current care challenges.

Finally, PCNA will focus efforts over the next year on increasing opportunities for member engagement and leadership in our vibrant organization.  Please take advantage of the numerous opportunities to enhance your cardiovascular nursing practice and leadership through our webinars, online education and clinical tools, regional and chapter meetings, and our annual symposium.  I encourage you to increase your involvement in PCNA to share your knowledge, skills, and expertise with our community while you gain personally and professionally. 

  1. Handberg, E., Arslanian-Engoren, C., Baas, L., Dennison Himmelfarb, C., Gura, M.T., Klein, D., Maslanek, W., Mayo, C., Molina, M.R., Rummell, M., Stanik-Hutt, J., Zarling, K.K. (2015). Cardiovascular Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice. American Nurses Association. Silver Spring, MD: Nursesbooks.org.

  1. Hayman LL, Berra K, Fletcher BJ, Houston Miller N. The Role of Nurses in Promoting Cardiovascular Health Worldwide: The Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015;66(7):864-6.