UBC Graduate Research

Development of a Learning Module for Nurses: Pre-Discharge Assessment of Psychological Distress in Hospitalized Patients with Cardiovascular Disease Human, Megan


Background: Psychological distress is common among patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). This can lead to significant cardiac risk and, ultimately, increased rates of morbidity and mortality. Clinical practice guidelines recommend that routine screening for psychological distress should occur following any cardiac event. With this practice change, nurses are expected to perform such mood assessments using an appropriate screening tool. Aims: To identify, review and synthesize the relevant literature in order to develop an online, self-directed learning module for nurses that outlines 1) the evidence for the association between CVD and psychological distress and 2) how to effectively conduct the psychological-distress screening with all CVD inpatients. Methods: The literature was reviewed with a focus on three key points: the important links between psychological distress and CVD; the best practices for psychological screening among CVD patients; and the evidence for the benefits of psychological distress screening. A literature search was also done on adult learning principles, knowledge translation, and learning module development. Using all of this information, a self-directed online learning module was developed. Recommendations: Nurses, as adult learners, must take an active role in learning how to effectively screen cardiac patients for psychological distress. This module offers background evidence, relevant case scenarios, and self-evaluation questions to promote optimal learning. Conclusion: The opportunity to screen patients with CVD for psychological distress is one that must not be missed. Nurses play a pivotal role in the screening process, since/because the nursepatient relationship is an important determinant of patients’ perceived benefits of a healthier lifestyle after a major cardiac event. With practice changes regularly occurring in the nursing profession, it is imperative that nurses take an active role in such educational opportunities such as this learning module regarding screening patients with CVD for psychological distress.

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