INTRODUCTION: Patient self-management skills are an important part of heart failure (HF) management. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the effectiveness of nurse-led education on patient self-management and the associated clinical outcomes of rural Chinese patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). As such, this study was designed to evaluate the impact of a nurse-led education program on patient self-management and hospital readmissions in rural Chinese patients with CHF. METHODS: Ninety-six patients in the eastern Chinese province of Shandong with CHF were randomly divided into intervention and control groups. A structured education program was delivered to the intervention group during hospitalization and after discharge. Control group patients were managed as per clinical guidelines without structured education. Medication adherence, dietary modifications, social support, and symptom control were assessed 12 months after the educational intervention. RESULTS: The mean score of medication adherence, dietary modifications, social support and symptom control in the intervention group was higher than in the control group at the end of the study (p<0.01). The readmission rates for HF in the intervention and control group were 10.4% and 27.1%, respectively (p=0.036). CONCLUSIONS: This study has demonstrated that a structured education program was associated with a significant improvement in medication adherence, dietary modifications, social support, and symptom control in rural CHF patients. Furthermore, this program was associated with a significant reduction in hospital readmission. This study indicates that implementation of a nurse-led education program improves self-management and clinical outcomes of rural CHF patients, who may not have regular access to cardiac management services as per metropolitan populations.