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.

Heart failure nurse research training fellowship

A 24,000 EUR grant aimed at fostering research skills as part of the professional development of heart failure nurses

The HFA encourages nurses to improve their research skills in order to enhance their future careers as innovators and/or researchers, as well as further advancing the field of nursing care for heart failure patients and providing added value to home institutions or countries.

The HFA Fellowship grant: application is now open

24,000 EUR for 1 year in a host institution

  • The applicant has to have a nursing degree and be an MSc student.
  • It is particularly important to demonstrate what added value would be derived through the Nurse Research Training Fellowship as compared to undertaking similar training in the home institution or country.
  • Applicants are advised to ensure that the proposal demonstrates novelty and clear evidence of the research training component.

Download the Rules

Application is open to any European resident or citizen, including those from countries considered as “Associates of the EU”. You should be at least an HFA Regular member. Please note that applications cannot be considered from individuals who are already based at the institution where it is proposed to hold the Training Fellowship.

Request an Application Form

Deadline 31 October 2017


You've chosen the field of heart failure - the HFA is here to help you make the most of it!

  • Develop your academic skills
  • Start a collaborative research project with the host institution
  • Build a network aiming at joint publications
  • Complete a research exchange with a heart failure care research group


Christina Costa Grana (Spain)

Patients with heart failure need a complex and essential pharmacological treatment in order to increase their survival rate and quality of life. Sanitary education is a fundamental tool for the patient to participate in his/her own care and for the evolution to be favourable. In order to offer knowledge, it is important to use simple tools which can give the professionals the optimisation of treatment and at the same time increase the capacity of self-care of patients.

Loreena Hill (UK)

There is a rationale for exploring the professional issues which impact the decision about ICD-deactivation at end-of-life in heart failure patients. Literature has identifies the concerns of both heart failure patient and professional, with most of the studies exploring the professional aspect coming from the US. Sweden has made an impact on understanding the perspectives of heart failure patients and carers. It would therefore be ideal to learn from and collaborate with this expert European team on a joint research project.

2013 Nurse Fellowship winners

Ioanna Lakatamitou (Cyprus)

The aim of the study is to explore the views and experiences of healthcare professionals on the effect of digital patient stories in improving communication with patients and families.

In today's world many health care providers are struggling to maintain a sense of satisfaction, psychosocial balance and a network of personal support for health care professionals. Little patient stories are created to support this effort. Storytelling is a unique human experience through which people make sense of past experience and ultimately connect with other people. It is a potent way to expose health care professionals to the human experience of being a patient and encourage the development of sensitive, individualised and compassionate practice.

The findings of this research will provide sufficient information regarding to the impact of rounds on psychosocial and emotional aspects of clinical care and communication between the health care team. It is expected to be an increased estimation of the roles and better communication between the health care providers and also between providers and patients.

Sophie Welch (UK)

Human genetic applications are set to take on increased importance as techniques such as gene therapy become increasingly common. Heart failure has an enormous social impact and the expected value of gene therapy is to address both unmet clinical needs and improve patients’ quality of life.  However the value of such novel treatments will only be realised if they are acceptable to patients and to professionals.

During my research training fellowship I will be working alongside experienced researchers to conduct a study to explore the research question, ‘The views and experiences of patients, the public and healthcare professionals’ on the use of gene therapy in the management of heart failure will influence its adoption into routine healthcare.’

Previous works have largely taken a quantitative approach with survey research collected more than a decade ago. With the recent developments and success in biotechnology this data is unlikely to reflect those views and experiences of today’s patients and public. Efforts are needed to understand and then improve public involvement so emerging innovations can transfer successfully into evidence-based healthcare.

It is a qualitative study design with sequential semi-structured interviews that will be analysed through constant comparison, co-coding, generating themes and statement analysis. Recruitment will take place at the Royal Brompton Hospital and the Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital. Both are internationally known Cardiology and Respiratory NHS Foundation Trusts and leading centres for research. The Trust is also the academic partner to Imperial College London through the Institute of Cardiovascular Medicine and Science (ICMS) providing the opportunity to work alongside experienced research teams who are world leaders in their fields.

By exploring the contextual influences on perceptions of gene therapy nurses can attempt to tailor health education and information awareness to improve acceptance of current biotechnology and those of the future. This hopes not only to improve public support of gene therapy and other biotechnologies, but to aid in the engagement and involvement of patients in future research.  

As a result of this training fellowship I aim to have developed my understanding of research design, conduct and data analysis. I will also use my pilot data to develop a larger study as part of my PhD studies.

2012 Nurse Fellowship winners

Brynja Ingadóttir (Iceland)

Brynja's research proposal which she will undertake in Norrkjoping, Sweden: Patient expectations for information in heart failure patients undergoing cardiac synchronisation therapy

The aim of this study is to describe how the knowledge expectations of cardiac resynchronisation therapy (CRT) patients are being met and its association with patient reported outcomes.

Patient education has the potential benefits of improving patient safety, self-care and satisfaction and the effectiveness of healthcare. The use of implanted high technological equipment increases and CRT has been successfully used for the fast increasing population of heart failure patients. Their experience of the treatment has not been studied earlier but previous studies indicate that implant recipients need more comprehensive education and support.

This prospective, descriptive survey study on 200 CRT recipients uses seven validated instruments to measure expected and received knowledge, self-care, recovery, adjustment to device, health-related quality of life and satisfaction with care.

The development of patient education is an important part of nursing practice in contemporary healthcare and there is a need for knowledge on the educational needs and expectations of patients and how their knowledge affects outcome.

Selma Demir (Turkey)

Health Status in Patients with Advanced Heart Failure: The Role of Illness Uncertainty

Uncertainty is widely believed to be a central feature in illness experiences and, is a major factor influencing the human response to illness, treatment, hospitalization, and convalescence. However, There's no enough evidence as to whether uncertainty affects the health status of heart failure (HF) patients or not. This study was designed to determine the effects of illness uncertainty on health status.

A cross-sectional correlational design will be used in this study. The research population will be 100 patients. This study is being planned in Istanbul Mehmet Akif Ersoy Thoracic & Cardiovascular Surgery Training and Research Hospital in Turkey. Patients will be eligible if they had a diagnosis of advanced HF (New York Heart Association (NYHA) class III or IV) and a documented ejection fraction (EF) of 0.40%. Other eligibility criteria will be included; being aged 18-75 years, English speaking, able to communicate, with no psychiatric illness and no planned surgery or invasive cardiac procedure.

Chronic disease is complex and often increases uncertainty. In addition, management uncertainty also is complex and dynamic and requires thoughtful and vigilant assessment by the healthcare provider. The goal of nursing interventions is to reduce uncertainty in persons with chronic disease and promote self-confidence in their abilities, thus increasing certainty in their daily lives. Assuming that the uncertainty is an important risk factor affecting health status for chronic diseases, this study may be an effective resource guiding nurses in management of HF patients

2011 NurseFellowship winner

Ineke Lokker (NL)

Read Ineke's report

Ineke Lokker will move to Cape Town, South Africa for a period of six months. At the department of Cardiology of Groote Schuur Hospital (GSH) she will work on a prospective study into symptoms (symptom prevalence and symptom burden) in patients with NYHA grade III/IV heart failure.
Heart failure is a chronic progressive disease associated with high morbidity and mortality. Unlike most cardiovascular diseases, heart failure is becoming more common. Frequent causes of heart failure include hypertension and ischemic heart disease. Another condition that potentially can lead to heart failure is rheumatic heart disease. This cause of heart failure is mainly restricted to developing parts of the world, including Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South Africa and is most prevalent in children and young adult. As a result of this patients with heart failure in SSA are younger than patients in the developed parts of the world.

Multiple studies have shown that heart failure can have a large impact on the health status and quality of life of patients, which can be directly contributed to their symptom burden (e.g., fatigue, shortness of breath, depression) and functional limitations. However these studies have all been performed in developed countries and therefore it remains unclear whether patients with heart failure in developing parts of the world experience the same symptoms and functional limitations.

To be able to deliver good health care it is essential to have knowledge about the specific symptoms that occur during a specific disease or disease phase and their effect on patients. Therefore the aim of this study is to measure the prevalence and associated burden of physical and psychological symptoms, among patients with NYHA grade III/IV heart failure at Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, South Africa.

This study into symptom prevalence and palliative care-related problems in patients with heart failure grade III/IV will be the first study in this field performed outside high income regions/countries of the world.

2010 Nurse Fellowship winner

Nina Kolbe (DE)

Read Nina's report

Ms Kolbe will move to Linkoping University in Sweden. Her research topic is ‘Sex counselling for patients with heart failure: developing a practical and valid method  for daily practise’.

Project description: patients with heart failure often worry about resuming sexual activity and are in need of education and counselling regarding this issue. Nurses have an important role in helping the patient to adapt their lives and learn to live with the consequences of heart failure, so nurses although have to discuss patients sexual concerns.

Because in Germany there is a lack of knowledge concerning the topic, whether nurses counsel patients with heart failure in sexual concerns or not, the first aim of this study will be to identify following topics: the prevalence of communication about sexual matters between nurses and patients and, if they do not talk about, why they do not talk about. Expand on this work we will improve the future education of nurses caring for heart failure patients in developing a practical but valid and acceptable tool to assess sexual concerns of heart failure patients in daily practice.

A cross-sectional research design will be utilized to study aim 1. A translated and adapted version of the nurses´ survey of sexual counselling of MI patients will be administered to heart failure nurses and nurses working at a cardiological ward. The data will be entered to SPSS 17.0 and descriptively analyzed. Secondly an instrument development approach will be used to develop the assessment tool.

For heart failure nurse training programme, please see this link: Curriculum