After considering graduate school for some time, Alisha Faya applied and was accepted into the Mercy College of Ohio’s Master of Science in Nursing program in 2016. Graduate school is a big commitment, but Alisha found online classes allowed her to still work full time as a floor nurse and unit-based educator at Mercy Health – St. Elizabeth Boardman Hospital.
While in her master’s program, an assignment challenged Alisha to find ways to improve patient outcomes at her facility. After realizing there was a high readmission rate for heart failure patients, Alisha went to work on finding a solution.
“In August 2018, I piloted a heart failure navigator position for three months,” Alisha shares. “The course I was taking generated a lot of questions and thoughts about improving education as well as the care we deliver to our heart failure patient population.”
After serving in this role through October 2018, the readmission rate for heart failure patients stayed at less than 19 percent overall. In fact, her pilot program was so successful that it led to a permanent position for Alisha as a clinical educator. The readmission rate has stayed low since Alisha has been in this new role full time.
“My current role was designed in conjunction with the hospital’s goal to decrease heart failure readmissions,” she shares.
In this new role, Alisha has also created and launched COPE (Cardiovascular Outpatient Program & Education), an event to inform the Youngstown, OH community about the risks of heart failure. COPE keeps heart failure patients up to date on education, resources, and ways they can improve their cardiac health.
The overall goals of COPE are to:
- To promote heart health awareness.
- Increase self-assessment abilities through interactive learning experiences.
- Encourage participants to assume responsibility for their own heart health through the development of personal wellness plans.
- Reassure and encourage participants to continue their health behaviors.
- Involve families and support systems to help patients with heart failure.
Moving forward, Alisha hopes to continue to grow COPE and potentially branch out to other areas of health care she believes deserve similar community awareness and education.
“Whether it be in this role or another management or leadership role, I want to keep on making an impact across this ministry,” she says.
Alisha credits her education at Mercy College as being instrumental in helping her create COPE.
“It gave me the confidence to know that I can implement something as big as this and impact our local communities in such a positive way,” she shares.
Alisha hopes to put on the COPE event at least twice a year for the community. She would love for it to continue to grow and reach as many people as possible, teaching them about the dangers of heart disease.
Educating a community is one of the best ways to fight heart disease. This health risk sends millions of Americans to the hospital every year. However, nearly 80 percent of cardiovascular diseases can be prevented.
Want to learn more about your own heart health? Take our free, online heart risk assessment today.