Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF)

Case Study Submitted by: Sue Koob
Country: All

A network of nurse leaders from around the world is working to support the American Heart Association and the World Heart Federation goals in reducing death and disability from noncommunicable disease (NCDs), notably cardiovascular disease (CVD), by 25% by 2025.

CVD continues to be the leading cause of death and disability across the globe, causing approximately 31% (18 million) of all global deaths annually, despite it being highly preventable.

These deaths, caused by conditions such as ischemic heart disease and stroke, are preventable if there is a focus on lifestyle issues, such as tobacco use, diet, and physical inactivity, and good management of high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and related conditions.

Low- and middle-income countries bear the major burden, and accumulated data clearly underscores the important role of life course prevention. Nurses are on the front lines of helping patients effectively reduce their risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

The Global Cardiovascular Nursing Leadership Forum (GCNLF) is a coalition of nurse leaders from across the globe. A project of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association (PCNA), GCNLF includes a network of 50 or so key nurse leaders who influence thousands of additional nurses and related healthcare professionals.  Currently, 21 liaison organisations with thousands of health care providers members are part of the growing GCNLF network.

GCNLF supports and empowers nurses who work with patients at risk for, or with, cardiovascular disease or stroke. GCNLF nurse leaders include representatives from the following countries, with materials and support available for nurses interested from other locations:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • China
  • India
  • Ireland
  • Japan
  • Korea
  • Lebanon
  • Northern Ireland
  • Philippines
  • Portugal
  • South Africa
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States

The GCNLF’s mission is to engage and mobilise the international community of nurse leaders to promote the prevention of CVD and stroke worldwide through research, education, policy and advocacy. They seek to achieve this through:

  • Empowering an international network of nurse leaders and allies/liaison organisations
  • Representation at high level international meetings with the World Heart Federation, the American Heart Association, the American Nurses Association/International Council of Nursing and the European Society of Cardiology/Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and Allied Professions
  • Publishing a guidance document ‘Promoting Cardiovascular Nursing Globally’ for nurse leaders to share with officials, physicians, administrators, ministries of health and others
  • Its collaborative website (, for sharing patient education materials and best practices
  • Publishing a flyer to share GCNLF mission, goals and accomplishments
  • Three in-person meetings to discuss strategy, challenges, best practices and opportunities
  • Identification of nurse-specific core competencies and a cardiovascular nurse certificate program

There is a strong commitment of nurses to global CVD prevention. Compelling data from clinical trials and meta-analysis support the important role of nursing in CHD and stroke prevention, including that:

  • CVD risk reduction efforts should be led by nurse-directed teams that include community health workers, nutrition, counseling, and other services that are located at hospitals, clinics, or community centers.
  • Team-based, guideline-directed, nurse case management has the potential to create positive change in both primary and secondary prevention of CVD.
  • All-cause mortality and acute myocardial infarction are improved with secondary prevention programs. Of note, 45% of the clinical trials included in the meta-analysis were nurse led or nurse managed.

Nurses are on the front lines of helping patients effectively reduce their risks of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. While their specific roles and responsibilities may vary within and between countries, nurses are a trusted source of information for patients and are a key part of the healthcare team in ensuring that patients understand and adhere to treatment recommendations and pharmacotherapies.

Lessons learned thus far from GCNLF include:

  • The importance of global, collaborative nursing efforts focused on CVD prevention
  • The reaffirmation of the potential for nurses and nursing as leaders in global CVD prevention and management
  • The need for additional education and training: acquiring clinical competencies and developing leadership and advocacy skills
  • That sharing of best practices in policy, leadership and clinical practice can have a tremendous influence on other nurses in different areas of the world.

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