Hickory heart failure specialist, Sara Paul, DNP FNP, has been making rounds lately, both in her lab coat treating patients at Catawba Valley Cardiology, and on a global stage, facilitating knowledge about the heart condition that is her specialty. Recently, Sara was invited to participate as a faculty for two international groups of heart failure nurses when the American College of Cardiology (ACC) hosted workshops on the topic. The first of these 2-day workshops was held in Bogota, Columbia in November 2016 and the second was held in Melbourne, Australia in February 2017.
The international workshops, sponsored by a grant from pharmaceutical company Novartis, featured curriculum developed by the speakers and ACC staff. As lead faculty for the programs, Sara worked with two other nurse speakers, as well as a physician from each country. In the United States and around the world, heart failure is one of the leading causes of hospital admissions among older adults. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), an estimated 5 million Americans have heart failure and those numbers only continue to rise.
Sara says, “I have always known that heart failure nurses in this country are very passionate and committed to taking care of these patients. I was pleased to see that nurses from other countries share that same degree of passion for helping patients who have heart failure live with this disease and improve their outcomes. I was impressed to see how a common commitment to heart failure patients surpassed language, location, and even variances in the treatments between the countries.”
The topics presented in the workshop included heart failure pathophysiology, physical assessment, diagnostic testing for heart failure, management of acute and chronic heart failure, patient education, palliative care and end of life topics. A large component of the workshops included case study presentations with participants divided into small groups. Each group was given a different heart failure patient case study and specific questions to answer with assigned topics to discuss within their groups. At the end of each workshop, groups presented their case study and the entire audience participated with discussion on patients and treatments.
Sara has been a nurse practitioner managing heart failure patients for more than 30 years. A founding member of the American Association of Heart Failure nurses, she is also active in the leadership of the Heart Failure Society of America and the American Heart Association. Sara has numerous publications in books and journals, and is the editor of two four nursing textbooks. She regularly speaks at conferences, and currently sits on the editorial board of three professional journals.
Cardiologist Dr. Brian Steg, also of Catawba Valley Cardiology comments, “With her extensive experience and success in implementing excellent care for patients with heart failure, Sara is a significant asset for the local patient population we serve. She is one of the most experienced, educated Nurse Practitioners in the country specializing in the treatment and prevention of heart failure.”
Since joining Catawba Valley Cardiology, Catawba Valley Medical Center’s heart specialty practice in 2013, Sara has implemented innovative approaches to managing patient care – one notable example is the establishment of a dedicated heart failure clinic, the only one in the area. The clinic offers an alternative to emergency room visits for patients with heart failure symptoms that don’t require emergency management, such as shortness of breath, swelling or fatigue. Rather than being admitted to the hospital, these patients can be managed on an outpatient basis through the heart failure clinic.
To learn more about the heart failure services and programs available locally and how CVMC can help you manage your condition, please contact Catawba Valley Cardiology at 828.326.2354.