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BACKGROUND: Preventive care can reduce the morbidity and mortality of patients following myocardial infarction. Recent evidence has shown that such care is not being provided effectively. The involvement of practice nurses has been proposed as a means of improving the completeness of follow-up and the quality of preventive care. OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine the extent to which follow-up care for people discharged from hospital after a myocardial infarction is currently being undertaken by practice nurses and to assess the factors influencing the provision of such care and the nurses' attitudes towards this extended role. METHOD: Postal questionnaires were sent to 183 practice nurses working in general practices in the Southampton and South-West Hampshire Health District; 121 nurses responded (66%), representing 58 out of 64 practices surveyed (91%). RESULTS: The majority of responding practice nurses (55%, 95% CI 47-64%) had hospital experience of caring for patients with ischaemic heart disease, and most (83%, 95% CI 76-89%) believed that they played a key role in follow-up care of patients following myocardial infarction. In the absence of external support from a cardiac liaison nurse, few nurses (26%, 95% CI 16-41%) provide such care at present and only 21% work in practices with a register of myocardial infarction patients. Factors predicting the provision of follow-up care are having adequate time (odds ratio 4.59, 95% CI 1.66-12.7), the support of a cardiac liaison nurse (odds ratio 3.07, 95% CI 1.28-7.34) and GP colleagues (odds ratio 3.38, 95% CI 1.38-8.23), training in consultation skills (odds ratio 7.25, 95% CI 2.08-25.3), fundholding (odds ratio 3.11, 95% CI 1.26-7.69) and the confidence and knowledge of the practice nurse (odds ratios and 95% CIs respectively: 2.84, 1.18-6.83 and 2.80, 1.13-6.89). CONCLUSION: Most practice nurses are enthusiastic and have some of the necessary experience to provide follow-up care for patients who have experienced a myocardial infarction. Yet few currently provide it. The most important organizational incentives for providing such care are further training and the support of GPs and the cardiac liaison nurse.

Original publication




Journal article


Fam Pract

Publication Date





426 - 430


Adult, Attitude of Health Personnel, England, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Myocardial Infarction, Nurse Practitioners, Odds Ratio, Recurrence