Date of Award

Spring 5-22-2021

Document Type

Doctor of Nursing Practice Final Manuscript

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Dr. Martha Fuller PhD, PPCNP-BC

Second Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Valles, DNP, CPNP, FNP




Congenital heart disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect and affects almost 1% of all live births. Treatment anxiety is common among children with CHD who undergo multiple procedures early in their lifetime. Dramatically increased life spans for this cardiac population has led to a shift from focusing on survival to their long-term health outcomes.


Administration of the Peds QL Cardiac Module 3.0 assesses health related quality of life (HRQOL) during annual visits to a Cardiac Neurodevelopmental (ND) Clinic by evaluating the level of Treatment Anxiety a patient experiences during healthcare appointments. The questionnaire scores are inversely rated, with higher scores correlating to less Treatment Anxiety. Patients and parents/guardians received targeted education on treatment anxiety, its causes, coping tools, and resources. Pre/post measures of treatment anxiety were measured.


There were 7 children aged 5-17 years old enrolled over a period of three months. All but one had measurably decreased treatment anxiety after the intervention. Almost every parent endorsed feelings of being heard and gratitude for the education intervention as well.


This project is a simple, yet effective demonstration that proper education can positively influence pediatric patient outcomes. Focusing on mental health and long-term outcomes for patients with CHD is important and achievable during annual ND appointments.

Application to Practice:

Implementing age-appropriate education on treatment anxiety and coping mechanisms during ND visits is feasible and cost-saving, improving improves short- and long-term outcomes for mental health in congenital cardiac patients. More research is needed for longer term outcomes with these interventions.