Exploring the implementation of key nursing roles in children’s cardiac services
Intended for healthcare professionals
Evidence and practice    

Exploring the implementation of key nursing roles in children’s cardiac services

Kerry Louise Gaskin Associate professor of nursing, Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Worcester, Worcester, England
Lynda Shaughnessy Lead nurse for paediatric cardiology and co-clinical director of the Congenital Heart Disease Network, Evelina London Children’s Hospital, London, England
Amanda Daniels Associate lecturer, Three Counties School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Worcester, Worcester, England

Why you should read this article:
  • To gain a greater understanding of key specialist nursing roles in children’s cardiology

  • To delve into the guidance and standards on nursing roles and competences in children’s cardiac services

  • To recognise the need for nursing teams to collaborate across congenital heart disease (CHD) networks

Background Children’s cardiac nursing roles have changed over the past decade. Royal College of Nursing (RCN) guidance and NHS England standards have been published with the aim of standardising and enhancing nursing care for children and young people with congenital heart disease (CHD) and their families.

Aim To explore the breath of implementation of key nursing roles in children’s cardiac services across the UK and Ireland and to determine whether the roles met the RCN guidance and the NHS England standards.

Method A cross-sectional survey design was used. The 150 members of the Congenital Cardiac Nurses Association (CCNA) were invited via email to participate and were sent a link to an online survey.

Findings Of the 150 potential respondents, 31 completed the survey. Overall, respondents believed that the RCN guidance had been implemented effectively and that children’s cardiac nursing roles matched the RCN’s example job descriptions. Respondents’ comments suggested that implementation of the NHS England standards had been challenging and that progress in setting up key roles such as lead nurse, cardiac nurse educator and children’s cardiac nurse specialist had been slow. Respondents felt that political and financial factors adversely affected recruitment.

Conclusion Since publication of the NHS England standards there has been some progress in the implementation, in children’s cardiac services, of key nursing roles such as lead nurse and innovative nursing roles such as advanced nurse practitioner and research nurse. The findings of this study have informed the latest edition of the RCN guidance, which now includes the role of senior research nurse.

Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2023.e1495

Peer review

This article has been subject to open peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software

@GaskinKerry

Correspondence

k.gaskin@worc.ac.uk

Conflict of interest

None declared

Gaskin KL, Shaughnessy L, Daniels A (2023) Exploring the implementation of key nursing roles in children’s cardiac services. Nursing Children and Young People. doi: 10.7748/ncyp.2023.e1495

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to thank the Congenital Cardiac Nurses Association Committee for supporting the study. They would also like to thank all contributors to the third edition of Children and Young People’s Cardiac Nursing: RCN Guidance on Roles, Career Pathways and Competency Development

Published online: 18 December 2023

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