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Hypertensive Acute Decompensated Heart Failure Presentations: On the Decline? : A Master's Thesis

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 2:56pm

Background: The initial systolic blood pressure (SBP) in patients with acute heart failure (AHF) can be used as a guide when choosing specific pharmacologic treatments by helping identify the underlying type of HF (e.g., HF with preserved ejection fraction). Clinical experience and research data from our medical center suggests that AHF with elevated SBP may be presenting less frequently than in the past. This may call into question the utility of initial SBP as a clinical guide. The goal of this Master’s Thesis is to test the hypothesis that the frequency of AHF patients with a SBP>160mmhg has declined over time.

Methods: This observational study compares data from 4 cohorts of adult patients admitted with AHF in central MA. Data were obtained from a contemporary (2011-2013) study of patients with AHF as well as from the 1995, 2000, 2006 Worcester Heart Failure Study (WHFS) cohorts. The Framingham criteria the diagnostic criterion for AHF. The main outcome was the proportion of patients with AHF with a SBP > 160 mmHg who presented in each of the 4 study cohorts and was examined by multivariate logistic regression.

Results: 2,366 patients comprised the study population. The average age was 77 years, 55% were female, 94% white, and 75% had prior HF. In 1995 33.6% of AHF patients had a SBP >160 mmHg compared to 19.5% in 2011-2013 (p160 mmHg in 2006 (0.64, (0.42-0.96)) and 2011-13 (0.46, (0.28-0.74)).

Conclusion: The proportion of patients with AHF and an initial SBP >160 mmHg has significantly declined over time. This may warrant a reexamination of the utility of SBP to inform diagnosis and treatment in patients with AHF.

The Identification of Staff Nurses as Organizational Champions: A Dissertation

Mon, 02/02/2015 - 12:45pm

The characteristics of nurses acting as organizational champions, as well as the ways that clinical leaders systematically harness the energy of these champions in support of innovation, were explored in this qualitative descriptive study. The specific aims were guided by prior empirical evidence and identified research needs. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 formal nursing leaders (e.g. managers, educators, administration) in an academic medical center. This study, including the interview guide, was informed by Kouzes and Posner’s (2007) Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership. Two models were developed to describe the data. Overall, participants echoed prior empirical findings identifying a need for organizational champions’ support of innovation and explained how some nurses seem to have “innate” characteristics that make them champions. Participants identified the champion as the “go to” person who can see the bigger picture and who seems to “own their own practice”. They described the importance of being truly present on the unit in order to harness the energy of these champions. Once champions are identified, leaders match the champions’ talents to the innovation planned, secure buy in from the champions, and actively work to support champions and get a culture of innovation “in the drinking water.” This work enhances the leader’s experience and makes him/her feel inspired and engaged. The two models developed based on the participants’ description of their experience working with staff nurses acting as organizational champions provide a framework for clinical leaders to identify and engage organizational champions in their clinical areas in support of innovation.