Background: The European Society of Cardiology and the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions share a vision; to decrease the burden of cardiovascular disease in Europe. Nurses represent the largest sector of the health professional workforce and have a significant contribution to make, which has not yet been fully realised. Recent evidence highlights an association between the level of nurse education and inpatient mortality making this an important topic, particularly as the provision of nurse education in Europe is variable.
Aim: To develop a core curriculum to inform the education of nurses following initial qualification for work in cardiovascular settings.
Method: A syllabus was developed using published literature, policy documents and existing curricula with expert input from service users, specialist nurses, cardiologists, educationalists and academics. The syllabus formed the framework for the development of the core curriculum.
Results: Eight key themes characterise the core curriculum which are presented together with an account of the development process. While the curriculum is not intended to cover all aspects of the highly complex role of the cardiovascular nurse, the themes do exemplify the science and art of nursing and are transferable across different levels of clinical practice and settings. The curriculum functions both as a 'map', which identifies key themes to include in nurse education, and as a 'tool' to inform educational provision that bridges' the gap between initial nurse education and advanced specialist practice. Content can be adapted for use to fit the national context and reflects the specific needs, health priorities, legislative and regulatory standards that govern safe nursing practice across different countries.
Conclusion: The core curriculum can be used as a learning framework to guide nurse education, in particular the continuing professional education of post-qualifying nurses working in cardiovascular settings. This represents a significant step towards streamlining cardiovascular nurse education in Europe.
Keywords: Cardiovascular nurses; continuing professional education; core curriculum; syllabus.
© The European Society of Cardiology 2015.