Promoting Cardiovascular Health Worldwide: The Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum

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Excerpt

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a major cause of morbidity and premature mortality in women and men in the United States and worldwide.1 In the past 20 years, the prevalence of CVD and stroke has accelerated in low- and middle-income countries that currently bear the major burden of these chronic conditions.2,3 Accumulated data and clinical observations underscore the importance of potentially modifiable factors and behaviors that contribute to the risk and burden of CVD and stroke on a global level and point to the critical role of life course prevention.4
Aware of these worldwide trends in the burden of CVD and knowing that nurses form the largest healthcare discipline managing CVD risk factors and modifying adverse lifestyle behaviors globally, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association initiated the Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF). The mission of the GCNLF is to engage, mobilize, and empower an international community of nurse leaders to promote prevention of CVD and stroke worldwide through research, education, policy, and advocacy. From its inception, major emphasis has been placed on exploring and developing ways in which nurses and global nursing organizations could support the CVD risk reduction goal set by the World Heart Federation (WHF): to reduce noncommunicable disease mortality by 25%, which includes CVD mortality, by 2025.5 Of note, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the American Heart Association also support this CVD risk reduction goal and the critical role of nurses and nursing in realizing this goal on a global level.6,7
Building on work accomplished since the inaugural meeting held in New York City in October 2014,8 the GCNLF convened in Barcelona, Spain, in October 27 to 29, 2016. Twenty-four nurse leaders from 13 countries representing all 6 WHO regions participated in this meeting that resulted in reaffirmation of the GCNLF mission. The GCNLF II emphasized the central and essential role of nurses and nursing organizations in global CVD prevention and developed short- and long-term goals and strategies designed to optimize nursing's capacity and contributions to global CVD prevention. Although the specific action plans focused on the WHF/WHO “25% by 2025” goal, strategies will vary by region and/or country. Several common themes emerged as priorities for GCNLF. Central to optimizing capacity for CVD prevention and with the goal of reaching new champions and partners in each WHO region, a document (infographic) is in process to highlight GCNLF's accomplishments and future plans. To highlight the role of nurses as leaders in various settings, a guidance document will also be created with recommendations on how and why to integrate and involve nurses in clinical, educational, and policy settings and forums. Consistent with WHF's emphasis on the importance of multilevel CVD prevention policies,5 this document will include recommendations on operationalizing and optimizing the role of nurses and nursing in agenda setting and implementation of CVD and stroke prevention policies on local, regional, and national levels. With realization of the regional differences in education and training of cardiovascular nurses, the GCNLF will also focus on identifying and disseminating key competencies for cardiovascular nurses that are central to evidence-based practice worldwide. The GCNLF will also create and implement a global core competency curriculum, which can be adapted for use in low-, middle-, and high-income settings. This decision was supported by all of the attendees at the GCNLF II.
Collectively, the GCNLF's accomplishments to date, initiatives in progress, and future plans include and encompass empowerment of nurses with knowledge, skills, and competencies in CVD prevention and leadership development and expertise in processes of policy development and implementation.
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