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Developing the Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Competency Framework

21 July 2022
10 min read
Volume 31 · Issue 14



The aim of this article is to outline the underpinning conceptual principles of advanced nursing and competency embedded in the Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Competency Framework, launched in January 2021. The authors refer to Benner's novice to expert pedagogy and explore how this provides a robust framework on which to assess the progress of the heart failure specialist nurse. Some key considerations are discussed, for example the importance of constructive feedback and feed-forward in the individual's learning cycle. Finally, plans for the future are discussed and the importance of evaluation in the authors’ ongoing commitment to improving the learning experience.

Since the seminal work by Lynda Blue et al (2001), evidencing the benefits of heart failure specialist nurses (HFSNs) in improving patient outcomes, the management and care of heart failure has become more advanced and complex. With an ageing population, the prevalence of patients with heart failure is increasing, along with the demand for resources to manage care (Conrad et al, 2018). Despite this increase in the number of people diagnosed with heart failure, the number of heart failure nurses to manage demand has remained static (Masters et al, 2019). The development of the Heart Failure Specialist Nurse Competency Framework (Barton et al, 2021) was in recognition of the need to provide a standardised educational pathway that is flexible and that enables and supports HFSNs to become confident and accountable practitioners in an ever-changing healthcare economy.

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