Nurse in ‘first of its kind’ preventative cardiology post

A nurse appointed to a specialist preventative public health position on Jersey has said her first-of-a-kind role will make the island a healthier place.

Kirstie Gouveia, earlier this year, took on the role of preventative cardiology nurse.

“I take immense pride in being part of a team pioneering preventative cardiology in our community”

Kirstie Gouveia

She told Nursing Times she was “unwavering” in her commitment to a population with better heart health.

Her role was created in the middle of 2023 via a donation from cardiology charity the Jersey Heart Support Group.

Alongside cardiologist and Jersey Heart Team clinical lead Dr Andrew Mitchell, Ms Gouveia has been tasked with bringing Jersey the latest innovations in the field of prevention, including new tests, artificial intelligence-powered heart scans and novel forms of heart screening.

She will also help “shape a way for treating patients with high cholesterol and genetic conditions”, according to the Government of Jersey.

“The primary objective of the role is to champion heart health, with a focus on education, support, early intervention and tailored preventative measures for residents,” added the government.

Based at Lido Medical Centre, from where she runs a cardiology clinic, Ms Gouveia will initially focus on patients who are already being seen in other areas of the heart team’s service.

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Ms Gouveia explained further: “Clinically, I conduct comprehensive risk assessments, considering medical history, lifestyle and diagnostic results.

“These assessments form the basis for personalised care plans, addressing each patient’s unique risk factors.

“I emphasise lifestyle changes to prevent cardiovascular disease, including mental wellbeing, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and toxin avoidance.

“I provide tailored medication recommendations and closely monitor patient responses.

“Patient education is integral to my role, emphasising treatment adherence and lifestyle modifications, with regular follow-up appointments.”

The role is the first of its kind in the British Isles, which includes the UK, the Government of Jersey said.

“A large number of heart attacks could be avoided if the population led healthier lives”

Andrew Mitchell

Ms Gouveia, who began her nursing career as a healthcare assistant, said a background in sports science made her an advocate for a holistic approach to health.

“I firmly believe in the importance of an active outdoor lifestyle and the promotion of a local, minimally processed diet to achieve optimal wellbeing,” she told Nursing Times.

“[The preventative cardiology] service is dedicated to creating a sustainable, preventive approach to cardiac health, tailored to meet the needs of Jersey’s diverse population.

“Our focus is on reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases through comprehensive, multidisciplinary, and patient-centred care.

“I take immense pride in being part of a team pioneering preventative cardiology in our community.

“We are dedicated to making a profound impact on the lives of our neighbours, friends and fellow Jersey residents by fostering a healthier, heartier community.”

According to Dr Mitchell, who came up with the idea for the nursing post, Jersey needed to take a “stronger” preventative approach to healthcare to ensure demand stays below manageable levels.

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Dr Mitchell, explaining the benefits of Ms Gouveia’s role, said: “Many of the heart conditions we see and treat are preventable.

“A large number of heart attacks could be avoided if the population led healthier lives. This could be by avoiding weight gain, exercising daily, avoiding tobacco products and eating more healthily.

“Our island needs to take a much stronger preventative approach to healthcare, so rather than treating people when they are ill, we should be preventing disease from happening.”

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