SPCN News!

This page will serve to provide the latest on news relevant to SPCN members. We will also broadcast some information via social media and email to ensure all have exposure to this information.

Contributions to this come from SPCN members. These contributions will include scientific information on congenital heart disease, including, but not limited to, patient care, management, outcomes, and quality indicators in all arenas. Bulletin articles may be research abstracts, summaries of conference presentations, updated information on quality initiatives, and collaborative practice information from member surveys. Members may submit contributions for this to the SPCN email address at trudy-pierick@uiowa.edu. Submissions will be reviewed by the website coordinator/newsletter editor, the SPCN President and one of our Founding Members. Contributions will be “published” bi-monthly and linked to the SPCN News by listing year.

SPCN Members – we wanted to share with all of you the information highlighted during Heart Month on our social media.  In case you don’t follow SPCN on Facebook here are the 2022 posts.

July 5, 2022

Make plans now to join us this fall!

SPCN Annual Educational Meeting

Friday, November 4, 2022 from 9:00 am-12:00 pm CST
LIVE @ Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago + Virtual option

CHD and Mental Health: Innovations for a lifetime of emotional well-being and resilience
More information and RSVP information to come in July

New this year: Pre-sessions pediatric cardiology symposium
Friday, November 4, 2022 from 2:00-5:30 pm CST
(no extra fees for symposium)

AHA Scientific Sessions 2022 will follow
November 5-7th in Chicago

AHA members will receive registration and housing information in early July.

For those wishing to become a member, go to www.heart.org

We can’t wait to see you!

May 20, 2022


Congratulations to current Vice President, Kelly Kirby, on receiving the Alumni Practitioner Award as part of the 2022 UCSF Alumni Achievement Awards.

This award honors an alum whose work is marked by boundless clinical empathy, understanding, and caring within health care. Kelly currently leads both the Single Ventricle Home Monitoring Program and Cardiac Neurodevelopmental Program at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford. Through her nursing education and career, she has provided knowledge, compassion, and caring to numerous patients with CHD and their families.

We are so very proud of you, Kelly, and look forward to your continued contributions to the nursing field. Congratulations!

Kelly Kirby, MSN, RN, CPNP-PC, PCNS-BC

May 2, 2022


SPCN Annual Educational Meeting | Friday, November 4, 2022

Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago (live) and Virtual

CHD and Mental Health:  Innovations for a lifetime of emotional wellness and resilience

Several nurses will share their expertise and take questions.

Additional information will be shared via email, web site and social media.

March 21, 2022

Congratulations to SPCN member, Karen Uzark, for her recent publication:

Advances in Managing Transition to Adulthood for Adolescents With Congenital Heart Disease: A Practical Approach to Transition Program Design: A Scientific Statement form the American Heart Association

J Am Heart Assoc. 2022;11:e025278. DOI: 10.1161/ JAHA.122.025278

Congratulations to SPCN member, Trudy Pierick, for her recent publication:

Increased interstage morbidity and mortality following stage 1 palliation in patients with genetic abnormalities
Pierick AR, Pierick TA,
Scholz TD, Zimmerman MB, and Reinking BE
(2022). Increased interstage morbidity and mortality following stage 1 palliation in patients with genetic abnormalities. Cardiology in the Young, page 1 of 6. doi: 10.1017/


Remember, #Nurses are the backbone of health care systems.

During the Superbowl tonight which coincides with #CHDWeek, there will be 1 child born with #CHD every 15 minutes, so that averages out to 15 families impacted regardless of the winner of tonight’s football game.

Please recognize both teams today for their success arriving here, the winner, and all those impacted by the #1birthdefect, Congeital Heart Disease.

Heart Month! DAY#13 on 2/13/22!!!


A CHD nurse’s response to the Challenge 2022 of Conquering CHD! Well, today’s challenge is kind of no challenge for me! My wonderful nursing colleagues from all over the world have been a gift – to me and a gift to CHD and all care. Many of us belong to the Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nurses (www.spcnonline.org). Karen Uzark, nurse practitioner and researcher at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital was a founder of #SPCN and I was with her at the meeting where SPCN was conceived in New York in 1985! We are still members and are on the board. As the field of CHD care advanced more specialty organizations have come about and nurses have been integral participants in this progress. There are so many examples but a couple are: the Consortium of Congenital Cardiac Care Measurement of Nursing Practice (C4MNP) and the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society (PCICS) – many nurses from C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital are participating in and contributing to the work of these important organizations and many more for heart care! Cheers to nurses! #CHDAwarenessWeek#CHDAwareness #1in100 #umsaveaheart #chdcare #chdnurse Michelle Steltzer Louise Callow Trudy Pierick Jennie Peterson


Today begins #CHD awareness week for the #1birthdect impacting so many hearts worldwide . Please join #SPCN nurses who care about improving outcomes locally and internationally meeting prior to the annual American Heart Association meeting.

Congenital Heart Disease care impacts patients, parents, siblings, families, providers, and does not discriminate.

2/1/22 SPCN started Heart Month advocating with AHA for Go Red!

SPCN-Society of Pediatric Cardiovascular Nurses

Happy Heart Month to all SPCN Nurses! And don’t forget to Go Red on 2/4/2022. The SPCN annual meeting is held in conjunction with the AHA Scientific Sessions plus, with our Pediatric CV Nursing Committee, we collaborate with AHA’s Council on CV & Stroke Nursing, so let’s join the #WearRedDay this Friday! Let’s go! #WearRedDay is this Friday. So crank up the tunes, get on your feet and rock your red for women’s heart health.

Heart Month and SPCN Membership Recruitment

February 2022

February is known for heart celebrations, and American Heart Month is a way of increasing awareness of heart disease while also promoting prevention and wellness. Our organization is the only one to encompass nurses internationally from ALL areas of nursing:  clinical practice at all levels (bedside nurses, surgical and procedural nurses, coordinators, advanced practice nurses), research, academia, and various levels of management and leadership. Some of these areas are well represented within SPCN, while others are sparse within our membership. The better representation we have across these areas, the more likely we will be able to expand our impact and accomplish our mission.

As President of SPCN, I would like to challenge each current member to recruit at least 2 new members to join our organization. This special recruitment promotion, ‘Recruit 2 and Get 1 Free’, will allow all current members to receive a FREE year of membership after recruiting at least 2 new members to join SPCN from Feb 1-28. To receive this bonus, the new members must notify our treasurer, Ruth Lemus (RuLemus@chla.usc.edu), who they were recruited by. This payment will go into effect with the next membership renewal date.

Thank you for taking the time to reach out to colleagues and friends to increase our membership and expand our communication with nurses from all areas of cardiac nursing. Now more than ever, we need to support one another, so reach out today!

Melissa Cousino, PhD, Division of Pediatric Psychology, Michigan Medicine | March 2020


SPCN members, we hope you’re surviving the current upheaval of our world as safely as possible.  Many of us are receiving so many questions from patients and families about this infectious disease. We wanted to send you a document that provides some tips that can be given to families to help them discuss the current issues with their children.  The advice of psychologist, Melissa Cousino, is here to help you advise families when talking about the pandemic.

If you have strategies or publications that you’d like to share with SPCN about the current COVID-19 situation, please email them to gfosse@med.umich.edu.  Depending on what is received and how things evolve, SPCN will consider distributing more information to our membership.



Your care team understands that this is an especially stressful time for our patients and families. Below are some common questions and helpful tips for supporting our patients during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Should I talk with my child/teen about COVID-19? Tips for doing this?

Although parents and caregivers understandably try to protect young people from scary realities, not addressing the situation could heighten fears. Some quick tips:
  1. Inform yourself first. You can find information in a variety of sites – please use sites recommended by your healthcare team or a recognized organization that reliably provides updated information like www.cdc.gov and achaheart.org/webinars.
  2. Use developmentally appropriate, simple and honest language.
  3. Provide reasonable reassurance and explain what is being done to keep them as safe as possible, like good hand washing, staying home much more, and many people working very hard to stop, treat, and cure the virus.
  4. Follow their lead and validate their feelings. If they don’t want to talk about it, you should stop and check in another time. It is understandable to feel sad, worried, angry, or even happy with the changes happening.
  5. Bring opportunities for control and fun where you can.
  6. Model healthy coping and take time to address your own feelings.

What if they ask about their health condition or medical care?

Again, we recommend simple, honest responses. We are still learning about COVID-19 and health conditions. It may be helpful to remind them that being careful about germs/infection and taking extra precautions are things your family has been practicing for some time. It is appropriate to assure them that while appointments may change or happen in new ways, their care team is committed to making sure they still get the best care while reducing unnecessary risks.

My child/teen keeps asking why is everything being cancelled? Is “social distancing” really necessary?

It is important to explain to young people that “social distancing” (staying away from friends, school, crowds, etc.) is necessary for slowing the spread of disease and keeping our loved ones and healthcare workers safer. We encourage all to stay connected virtually. Young people are especially skilled at doing this. They can be encouraged to video call a friend to do an activity or school assignment together, watch a movie with extended family through online hangout sites, or take virtual field trips with classmates. Monitoring social media safety remains important.
These feelings are very normal and understandable in all of us, but may be greater for some young people with health conditions. The hospital social media pages will continue to feature helpful resources. Here are some quick tips:
  1. Validate or give “names” to feelings, but do not dwell on things too much.
  2. Help your child to find positive, distracting activities when negative feelings take over.
  3. Encourage use of relaxation strategies, like deep breathing and mindfulness exercises.
  4. Engage in healthy routines. Limit news/media exposure. Develop daily schedules together.
  5. Together as a family, think of something good that happened each day.
  6. Challenge those negative thoughts! Is this thought true? Is it helpful? Is there a more helpful thought I can focus on? Positive self-statements, focusing on one’s resilience and strengths, can be especially helpful.

Posted: January 16, 2020


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is seeking additional input and recommendations regarding elimination of specific Medicare regulations that require more stringent supervision than existing state scope of practice laws, or that limit health professionals from practicing at the top of their license.

Click to Read Complete Press Release: CMS

ACHA ACHD Accreditation Found to Improve

Patient Survival While Waiting for Heart Transplant

Posted Tuesday, Jan 07, 2020

ACHA ACHD Program Accreditation continues to develop and grow with 34 fully accredited programs and several more initiating and completing the process. Programs of all sizes—with widespread geographic locations and various care models—have met the criteria to become fully accredited. The ACHA Accreditation Program was designed and developed by providers and patients to meet the needs of the ACHD patient population and improve the quality of care delivered throughout the United States.

Recently, an exciting article was published (click here for abstract) by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC) and is the first data-driven article to further signify the importance of ACHA ACHD Program Accreditation to patient care.

In the article entitled “Improved Outcomes of Heart Transplantation in Adults with Congenital Heart Disease Receiving Regionalized Care,” VP Nguyen and colleagues from the University of Washington in Seattle describe factors leading to improved pre- and post-heart transplant mortality.

The authors studied ACHD heart transplantation listed through UNOS (United Network for Organ Sharing) from 2000-2018. They found 1,746 patients were listed for a heart transplant and 1,006 were transplanted. They looked at several factors related to waitlist (pre-transplant on the waiting list) and post-transplant mortality.

The most powerful factor predicting the lowest pre-transplant mortality was being listed at an ACHA ACHD Accredited site. This was more powerful than a center’s overall transplant volume or high volume vs low volume heart transplant center. 

This result would indicate it is the comprehensive, expert ACHD care the patient receives at an ACHA ACHD Accredited site that improves survival waiting for a heart transplant.

We are confident that in the coming years, data-driven initiatives and studies will show further evidence of the importance of ACHA ACHD Accreditation to patient care. We also plan to extend the care model to local care and develop a network within ACHA Accreditation to improve access to high-quality ACHD care.


May 2018 SPCN Bulletin

The SPCN Bulletin for May contains Highlights of the SPCN Educational Program – 2018 This year was the first year of the Annual Nancy Koster Memorial Lecture. (attached file)

Nancy was instrumental in the developmental years of SPCN, serving on the Board in many roles, including President. Nancy’s passion was providing education to everyone on CHD – patients, parents, nurses, community members! SPCN initiated this lecture on any topic that provides cardiac education after her untimely death in 2017.