Getting Comfortable with Cardiovascular Issues

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

Kathy Quan RN BSN PHN

One of the major complications of COVID-19 involves heart issues from an enlarged heart to clotting disorder along with a variety of malfunctions of the heart. Cardiac arrythmias and reading EKG starips are all part of the RN nursing school curriculum. Many nursing students struggle with this rotation and all of the required memorization. Getting comfortable with cardiovascular issues isn’t that easy for many nurses and yet they are being thrust into the fire while treating COVID patients.  COVID-19 has presented this challenge to nurses in all fields. It adds to the stress and makes the job that much harder.

Part of the essential self-care and stress reduction means brushing up on those areas that are challenging. Time is not on your side, but neither is struggling to try to help your patients when your weaknesses are showing through. Take some time to help brush up on some of these challenges and help reduce the stress of struggling to remember things you weren’t good at in school or haven’t used in years. That’s one of the main premises of continuing education for nurses. Improve on your own weaknesses. 

Heart Health CEU Bundle

Patients present a multiplicity of complications in the process of fighting and recovering from the SARS-2 virus. These affect all aspects of health care including hospitals, SNFs and home health care or hospice. Continuing education courses can help all nurses brush up and have a better understanding of cardiovascular issues such as CHF, hypertension, and arrythmias. Nursing presents a Heart Health Bundle of 10 courses which offers 29 ceus. 

There are additional courses from about cardiovascular health issues from MI to hypertension and stroke along with prescribing information for APRNs with and without comorbidities involved such as diabetes. Other heart related issues such as hypertension, heart failure  and clotting disorders are also covered in the CEU courses available. 

Denial is barrier to patient education

Heart disease is not something many patients have any understanding of, and if they’ve not been previously predisposed, they’re likely to be in complete denial. Bring them out of induced comas and inform them they now have multiple complications to deal with for the rest of their lives, but they’re alive. Denial becomes a huge barrier to overcome. Couple that with a population that has no understanding of health and science and the result is patients unwilling to accept their fate and unwilling to learn how to manage long term conditions and prevent complications. 

This likely happened to their body while they were on a ventilator and unaware of what was happening. Or too sick to know what was happening to them. This poses a challenge to taking medications and making lifestyle changes and learning signs and symptoms to report to their primary care practitioner. It’s easy to think the fatigue and shortness of breath could just be from deconditioning and it will go away as they recover more. They don’t always accept that their body has been permanently damaged from the effects of COVID 19.

As we have learned from COVID experiences, patients present with all sorts of underlying conditions that can be affected by the coronavirus and some of these can be uncomfortable for nurses (and doctors) to deal with in the isolation units. Diabetes, kidney, lung and heart disease are just a few that can be exacerbated by the virus. Nurse-to- patient ratios were tossed out the window. Staffing is permanently short and suddenly the bigger problem for your patient is the cardiac arrythmias, the spikes and lows of the blood sugar, the multisystem organ failure. Don’t let this add to the stress of life and work, take a few minutes to read through some of these CEU courses to improve your skills and confidence level.

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