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cardiac transplantation, competency assessment, education, heart failure, nursing, program development, training, ventricular assist device



  1. Stahl, Mary A. MSN, RN, APRN, BC, CCRN
  2. Richards, Nancy M. MSN, RN, CCRN, CS


Ventricular assist devices (VADs) have made it possible for patients with end-stage heart failure to survive until a donor heart is available. In addition to serving as a bridge to transplantation, evolving indications for VADs include bridge to recovery and destination therapy. There are many VAD programs, but in the majority of programs only a small number of devices are implanted each year. Low volume poses a challenge in terms of provision of comprehensive education and training for nurses who will care for patients with VADs and in terms of maintaining competency to care for these patients. This article briefly addresses current VAD technology and VAD program development. The major focus is on the education and competency challenges and solutions the authors have experienced as infrequent users of VAD technology.