K. Melissa Smith Hayes, DNP, ANP-BC, CHFN, is a board-certified Adult Nurse Practitioner and a certified heart failure nurse. Melissa began her nursing career in 1992 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center after graduating from Harding University with her BSN. Melissa earned her MSN degree from Vanderbilt University in 1994 and her DNP degree from Duke University in 2013. Heart Failure became Melissa’s primary area of interest in 2001 during her role as a nurse practitioner in the Vanderbilt Heart Failure Program.

Currently, Melissa is a full-time Assistant Professor of Nursing at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, teaching in the Adult Gerontology Primary Care program and the Doctor Nursing Practice program. She is passionate about educating future nurse practitioners about managing heart failure and recently co-edited a textbook titled, Managing Heart Failure in Primary Care: A Case Study Approach. Her scholarly interests also include heart failure post-hospitalization care and literacy-appropriate heart failure education.

In addition to teaching, Melissa maintains a clinical practice caring for urban underserved heart failure patients. Melissa is actively involved with the American Association of Heart Failure Nurses (AAHFN) and is chair of the Together in Heart Failure (TIHF) website task force. Melissa is a founding member of the Middle Tennessee Heart Failure Journal Club established in 2005 which brings heart failure nurses and nurse practitioners together quarterly for heart failure educational opportunities. Heart failure is the subject for most of Melissa’s many podium and poster presentations at the local and national level.