Date of Conferral



Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)




Cathleen C. Colleran


Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a progressive medical condition affecting more than 7 million people in the United States (US) with 700,000 new cases reported annually. More than half of those treated for CHF are readmitted at least once a year. The problem addressed by this quality improvement initiative was lack of adherence to low sodium diet (LSD) among CHF patients, knowledge and skill deficit, and excessive 30-day CHF readmissions. The health belief model and the self-care deficit theory guide nurses in acquiring the skills needed to teach LSD. Twelve months of data were selected from 93 CHF readmissions from a target population of 499 CHF admissions. Measures of central tendency were used to extract meaningful summaries between variables for patterns related to 30-day readmissions and to plan educational interventions to improve patient outcomes. The educational intervention focused on educating nurses to teach adult patients with CHF to adopt a LSD. Discharge teaching materials developed were standardized, customizable, evidence-based, and included opportunities for evaluation of patient understanding and reteaching as necessary. Analysis of variance was conducted to evaluate the difference between days to readmission and compliance with the patient education process, and no significant difference (p < .05) was found (F(3,89) = .314, p = .815). The implications of this project for social change include preparing nurses to teach patients to adopt a LSD, empowering CHF patients to improve health outcomes, and improving the financial outcomes related to CHF.