Educational Preparation, Roles, and Competencies to Guide Career Development for Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurses

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Abstract

Background:

Cardiac rehabilitation is one of the most widely recommended strategies to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease. The multicomponent nature of cardiac rehabilitation programs requires a multidisciplinary team of healthcare professionals including nurses who are equipped with extensive knowledge and skills. However, there is a lack of a comprehensive, explicit career pathway that contains academic and clinical development to prepare nurses to become cardiac rehabilitation specialists.

Objective:

The aim of this study is to identify the 3 essential components for cardiac rehabilitation professionals: (1) educational preparation, (2) role/responsibility, and (3) competency to inform the framework of career development for cardiac rehabilitation nurses.

Methods:

Through scoping review, 4 stages from the methodological framework of scoping review by Arksey and O’Malley (Int J Soc Methodol. 2005;8:19–32) were used.

Results:

Some attempts have been made in developing frameworks of career development for cardiac rehabilitation professionals with these 3 components through guidelines/standards and core curriculum development worldwide, among which the United States is the only country with a well-established system including guidelines for cardiac rehabilitation/secondary prevention programs, a position statement in terms of competencies, and certification examination for cardiac rehabilitation professionals. Nevertheless, further development and integration of these efforts, specifically for cardiac rehabilitation nurses, are required.

Conclusions:

It is vital to raise the awareness of the significant contribution that appropriately educated and trained nurses make in reducing the global burden of cardiovascular disease through cardiac rehabilitation. Therefore, action on establishing a system of comprehensive, clearly defined career development pathway for cardiac rehabilitation nurses worldwide is of immediate priority.

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