Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

Jocelyn Wehner, DNP, MSN, CRNP, AGACNP-BC

  • Committee Chair Name & Credentials:
    Jason Jean, DNP, RN, FNP-BC
  • Committee Member Name & Credentials:
    Sarah Gast, DNP, APRN, AG-ACNP-BC


DNP Project Abstract

Cardiac Rehabilitation Referral in Patients Diagnosed with Cardiac Disease

The purpose of this project was to increase the cardiac rehabilitation (CR) referrals within the inpatient cardiac surgery line at Penn State Hershey Medical Center (PSHMC) by providing bedside education and implementing a standardized automatic referral protocol.

This QI project ensured each eligible post-operative cardiac surgery patient received CR education and endorsement by an advanced practice provider at the bedside as well as an electronic referral using a standardized template in the electronic medication administration record.

Between January 2021 and June 2021, the CR program at PSHMC received a monthly average of 17% of eligible patient referrals from the inpatient cardiac surgery line. After implementation of the QI project, 100% were referred in December 2021. In total, 99 cardiac surgery patients were successfully referred to CR over the course of the project implementation.

Implications for Practice
The results of this QI project align with what is found in the literature: a standardized automatic referral in the electronic medical administration record coupled with education and endorsement at the bedside increases CR referrals.1 It can be inferred that this increase in referrals will increase overall enrollment and completion of CR programs by the post-operative cardiac surgery patients included in this project.2

1 Grace, S. L., Chessex, C. Arthur, H., Juneau, M., Oh, P., & Suskin, N. (2011). Systematizing inpatient referral to cardiac rehabilitation 2010: Canadian association of cardiac rehabilitation and Canadian cardiovascular society joint position paper. Canadian Journal of Cardiology, 27(2), 192-199.

2 Simon, M., Korn, K., Cho, L., Blackburn, G. G., & Raymond, C. (2018). Cardiac rehabilitation: A class 1 recommendation that deserves to be treated like one. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, 85, 551-558.