In order to bring you the best possible user experience, this site uses Javascript. If you are seeing this message, it is likely that the Javascript option in your browser is disabled. For optimal viewing of this site, please ensure that Javascript is enabled for your browser.
Did you know that your browser is out of date? To get the best experience using our website we recommend that you upgrade to a newer version. Learn more.

Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

The European Society of Cardiology (ESC) supports the future of cardiovascular medicine. Each year the ESC provides €2 million in grants, fellowships, and scholarships.


The award

This prize was introduced to encourage the sharing of excellent practice among nursing professionals in the field of cardiovascular care. It rewards nurses and allied professionals who have submitted the best clinical cases for ACNAP 2023 congress following a reviewing and grading process.

The winner receives a prize, a certificate and free registration to the next ACNAP congress.

The next prize will be awarded during the closing session at ACNAP 2023 taking place 23–24 June 2023, in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The applicants who have submitted the best clinical cases will be invited to present them.  


Who is eligible to apply?

The ACNAP Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care is open to all nurses and allied professionals with an active ACNAP Silver Membership.

The clinical case can be in any area of cardiovascular care with a focus on the quality of care, patient and/or career engagement, clinical or patient reported outcomes and the translational aspects of this case.

Application process and rules

The application period is closed.

Those cases selected as finalists will be allocated for oral presentation

The finalists are required to attend ACNAP 2023 and present their clinical cases

Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Winners 2020

Stacey Stewart (United Kingdom) and Paul Stoneman (Ireland)

Congratulations to Stacey Stewart and Paul Stoneman, co-winners of this year's award with their clinical cases respectively titled:

An interesting case of type 2 myocardial infarction 

Access the clinical case

SCAD: An often overlooked diagnosis

Access the clinical case

Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Winner 2019

Shirley Ingram (Ireland)

Congratulations to Shirley Ingram who won this year's award with her abstract entitled: Rheumatoid arthritis and the risk to the coronary tree of life.

Access the clinical case

 Award Clinical excellence 2019-Shirley Ingram1.jpg

Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Winner 2018

Marie Anne Ryan (Ireland)

Congratulations to Marie Anne Ryan who won this year's award with her abstract entitled: Statin induced irritability? The cardiac rehab patient who said no, no, no.

Access the clinical case


Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Winner 2017

Edel Cronin (Ireland)

Congratulations to Edel Cronin who won the award with her abstract entitled: Can the prize of a perfect body be heartbreaking?

Access the clinical case

Edel Cronin, winner of the 2017 Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care

Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care Winner 2016

Ciara Rice (Ireland)

Ciara's case entitled "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach - a case of swallow syncope" was selected as the winner of the Award for Excellence in Cardiovascular Care 2016.

Interview with Ciara Rice

Mary Kerins, Chairperson of the CCNAP National Societies Committee, met with Ciara Rice at her workplace to find out about her work and what it meant to her to have won this prestigious award.

Hello Ciara, can you tell me a little about your work and the pathway you took to get to this position?

I work in the Falls and Syncope Unit in St James’s Hospital, Dublin as a CNM 3 (Clinical Nurse Manager).  St James’s is the largest teaching hospital in Ireland and the Falls and Syncope Unit provides a national service and sees over 4,000 patients annually. I first trained as a General Nurse (RGN) in St James’s Hospital and have worked in the Syncope Unit for the last 8 years. Prior to that, I worked in cardiac research and clinical cardiology, and before that, I worked as a staff nurse on a cardiology ward.  I specialised in cardiology in 2008 undertaking the Level-9 Post Graduate diploma in critical care/cardiovascular nursing, I was one of the leads in developing the first Diploma in Syncope and related disorders worldwide and was the first of two nurses worldwide to receive the Diploma in Syncope and Related Disorders from the Royal College of Physicians Ireland.  I am currently finishing my MSc in Cardiology and Stroke from the University of Hertfordshire, UK. 

Your case study “A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” was a very novel presentation focusing on swallow syncope, tell me a little about that.

Swallow syncope is an uncommon condition that is not fully understood. Though generally considered a benign condition, it can cause significant impairment in quality of life and result in significant injury, however it is a treatable disorder.  The pathophysiology of swallow syncope is not completely understood and several different mechanisms may exist.  The common innervation of the oesophagus and the heart by the vagus nerve has been postulated to play an important role. 

Tell me about the role of the syncope clinical nurse specialist (CNS):

The Syncope clinical nurse specialist (CNS) is a varied and important role.  The syncope CNS must have the expertise to deal with a wide range of conditions while always acting as the patient advocate. The role of the syncope CNS includes a full assessment, performing diagnostic tests to determine the mechanism of syncope, providing education to patients and their families. The role of the syncope CNS also incorporates audit and research to ensure the most up-to-date evidence-based practice and the syncope CNS is instrumental in the development and training within and outside the Syncope Unit.  The development of the CCNAP Core Curriculum provides an opportunity to develop and standardise the role of the syncope CNS across Europe.  It provides a framework and a foundation to develop and maintain skills to work safely and effectively. 

I attended EuroHeartCare in Athens in 2016 for the first time and I would highly recommend this conference not only for education and professional development but also for the opportunity to meet people from across Europe and develop professional links.  Syncope specialism is an emerging sub-specialty in cardiology nursing and it is so beneficial to meet and learn from other specialists in this area.  I was lucky enough to win the prize for the best clinical case and I would urge others to submit to and attend this session as we can all learn so much from “real-life” cases. 

So what was the take-home message of your presentation?

The take-home messages were:

  • The importance of history taking including a witness account.
  • Determine the mechanism of syncope.
  • Capture a “real life” episode.
  • Out rule any potential secondary causes.
  • Appreciate the impact syncope can have on a person’s quality of life, including driving and vocational restrictions.

Ciara, what does it mean to you to have won this award?

I was thrilled! It was a great sense of achievement for me to win this award. I think that so much can be learned from clinical cases. This session at EuroHeartCare is a great idea.

Finally, Ciara, on a personal note, what are your hobbies and what do you do to relax in your busy life?

Yes, working full time and studying for an MSc does lead to a busy life but it’s important to still make time to relax and have fun. In my spare time, I like to read, travel, do yoga, socialise with friends and family, and spend time with my nephews.

Thank you Ciara.