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Acute and critical-care nursing, Mechanical circulatory support, VAD nursing competence/competency, VAD nursing education/training, V`entricular assist device



  1. Casida, Jesus M. PhD, RN, APN-C
  2. Abshire, Martha PhD, RN
  3. Widmar, Brian PhD, RN, ACNP-BC
  4. Combs, Pamela PhD, RN
  5. Freeman, Regi MSN, RN, ACNS-BC
  6. Baas, Linda PhD, RN


Background: Nursing care is an essential component of the delivery of high-quality patient care for advanced heart failure patients with ventricular assist devices (VADs). However, there is little information about how VAD patient care competence is formed, and there are no empirical data regarding the bed nurses' competence.


Objectives: The aim of this study was to explain how nurses perceived their competence related to VAD technology and how they utilized resources to equip themselves for the management of patients with implantable VADs.


Methods: An exploratory correlational research design was used in this study. Online surveys including demographic and work characteristics questionnaires as well as VAD Innovation in Nursing Appraisal Scale (knowledge, adoption, and communication) were completed by 237 critical-care unit and progressive care unit (PCU) nurses.


Results: Ventricular assist device knowledge, adoption, and communication of innovation mean scores were 3.9 +/- 0.6, 3.9 +/- 0.8, and 3.7 +/- 0.9, respectively, indicating moderate/high levels. Critical-care unit nurses reported higher levels of knowledge (3.7 vs 3.6) and adoption (4.0 vs 3.8; P < .05) of innovation than did the PCU nurses, with no differences in communication. Compared with PCU nurses, critical-care unit nurses were more likely to seek VAD competence-related information using mass media. Innovation and adoption were associated with years of nursing experience and some hospital characteristics.


Conclusion: Critical-care unit nurses have higher self-reported VAD care competence than PCU nurses. Further research is needed to confirm the findings and link nurse competence with VAD patient outcomes.