'There is a need for further education as cardiac nurses are specialist roles'

April 20, 2007

Susan Kennedy has been appointed the first British Heart Foundation lecturer in cardiac care

Susan Kennedy has been appointed to a unique nursing lectureship to help the fight against heart disease. She is the first British Heart Foundation lecturer in cardiac care and will run two courses as part of Glasgow University's MSc in healthcare.

"I will be helping to educate a new generation of healthcare professionals who are going to make a real difference to quality of life for thousands of cardiac patients in the coming years," she said. "Heart care nurses can provide highly specialised care to patients by carrying out procedures that a few years ago would have had to have been performed by doctors."

Ms Kennedy was one of the first nurses to qualify via the university degree route - a three-year academic course at Edinburgh University that included obligatory full-time nursing during the vacation, followed by 18 months' clinical work.

After bringing up a family, she joined Glasgow's department of medicine and therapeutics as a research assistant in the 1980s. Nurses monitoring patients and discussing medication and lifestyle with them were found to be highly effective in lowering patients' blood pressure, and Ms Kennedy began to develop a specialism in cardiac care. For more than a decade she has combined academic work with working in a GP's surgery in Balornock, one of Glasgow's deprived areas.

A growing number of nurses were interested in cardiac care, Ms Kennedy said. "There's a need for further education because these are specialist roles - you can't go from an undergraduate course to doing this."

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