Ebonye Green Champions Neuroscience Nurses

Ebonye Green Champions Neuroscience Nurses

When Neuroscience Nurses Week arrives every May, nurses in this specialty champion the vast choices they have within this career path.

For Ebonye Green, MNSc, APRN and director-at-large for the American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN), becoming a neuroscience nurse was hardly something she planned. “I have my bachelor’s in chemistry, and I was going to go to pharmacy school or med school,” she says.  She actually ended up going to pharmacy school and was two years into the program when an off-chance comment by a patient she saw every month changed everything. “He said, ‘This isn’t for you. You should do something else.’”

Green took a chance. She shadowed people at a university hospital while still working with outpatient pharmacy patients. “One night, I was pulled into the neuro ICU,” she says. Other nurses said she was going to hate it because the patients can be unpredictable. The talk made her nervous to go in, but the result was transformative. “I loved it,” she says.

When fall semester came around, Greene didn’t go back to pharmacy school, instead enrolling in nursing school. “That was totally out of character for me to quit something,” she says. “My parents were surprised because I am a planner. I am a Type A, which actually fits in really well with neuroscience nursing.” But she had everything worked out from finding funding to moving credits around. “People thought I was crazy,” she says. And while she says she really didn’t know what to expect, she had a gut feeling that she was on a path that suited her. “It felt right,” she says. “I didn’t feel like I was going to work. I have never felt that way. I always learn something new every day. It’s eye-opening. It’s exciting.”

Green says making connections with other neuroscience nurses early in her career helped her gain her footing and gave her a sounding board. She talked to other nurses through AANN, and they gave her career-boosting tips. She was told how important it was to gain additional certification in her specialty or sub-specialty. They also let her know about neuroscience journals and about how conferences for neuroscience nurses were a great way to find other like-minded professionals.

Green understands why the nurses so long ago thought she might not like neuroscience nursing—it’s not a field that will appeal to everyone. “Things are happening with your patients and you can’t see it,” she says. There’s no cast to show a broken bone healing and no pacemaker to check on, she says. “It’s in the brain and you don’t see the moving parts,” she says. “You have to rely on your exam and what you know about the patient.”

But those very things are what keep Green motivated. “For me, it’s all about education,” she says. “It’s about wanting to know more to take better care of my patients.” It’s easier today to find the information she needs, but when Green first started, not many people were using the internet the way they do today. “You couldn’t Google something on a phone,” she says. “I was opening textbooks and showing my patients.”

Calling neuro recovery “a marathon, not a sprint,” Green says the education piece of recovery is vital. She works with patients, families, and caregivers who often just have to come to terms with a long, uncertain recovery. Finding out what can help patients calms everyone’s fears a bit, she says. Like pieces of a puzzle, as Green sorts out the reasons someone is under her care, she can help formulate the best path back to having the best life possible.

Nursing students who think neuroscience nursing is appealing should also realize the specialty, like a nursing career, is broad. “You can create your own avenue,” says Green. If you want to work with stroke patients, you could find yourself working with them from the time they hit the door in the emergency department or in rehab after they have had initial treatments. You could even find a place in the OR as a neuroscience nurse. “While you are on different rotations, decide what you want to do,” says Green.

Green particularly likes being able to follow her patients through their recovery. “We are in this together,” she says. “This is a very challenging and extremely rewarding field.”

Neuroscience Nurses Week Focuses on a Diverse Specialty

Neuroscience Nurses Week Focuses on a Diverse Specialty

The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses (AANN) honors the dedicated efforts of nurses whose work focuses on the brain during this year’s Neuroscience Nurses Week (May 12-18). Neuroscience nurses work with multidisciplinary teams as the field can involve so many body systems.

According to the AANN, neuroscience nurses have many roles. They care for those who have suffered brain injury or trauma from an accident. They also work with patients who may have neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, or epilepsy. They may care for people with spinal injuries that impact brain activity. And care offered to patients can be short-term for recovery or long-term for life-long illnesses or those that have progressed.

The American Board of Neuroscience Nursing offers certification for nurses in this field. Nurses who are fascinated by all the activity and operations of the brain are bound to gravitate toward this specialty. They also have an opportunity to make an impact throughout the field by assuming roles within care units or extending their reach into policy and legislation, academia, administration, or research.

Advances in brain science are moving rapidly and each new development can have a life-changing result for today’s neuroscience patients. Certification boosts the recognition for nurses who want to take the extra step and become as informed as possible about these developments, evidence-based practices, and patient care.

Neuroscience nurses work with all ages of patients and so they must understand the body systems of infants all the way up the the most elderly of patients. They are there to help people live a successful life with whatever condition they have or cope when the conditions or situations worsen. These nurses are also there to help with the physical, emotional, social, and even daily activity implications of brain functions. They help families learn to care for their loved ones and educate them about different conditions and symptoms. They can also help them recognize even the slightest progress or be alert for any red flags.

No matter what path of neuroscience a nurse chooses, being a patient advocate is one of their biggest responsibilities and one they are often most dedicated to. People with neurological issues can’t always advocate for their own needs so nurses are there to help them get what’s necessary to live their best life.

Nurses can spread the word about Neuroscience Nurses Week and come together with their own groups in their organizations. They can take stock of the year’s accomplishments and make plans for continuing to provide patients with the best, most cutting-edge care possible.

Neuroscience Nursing Requires Complex and Compassionate Care

Neuroscience Nursing Requires Complex and Compassionate Care

Every year, National Neuroscience Nurses Week is celebrated in the third week of May. The week honors nurses who dedicate themselves to this field and to the patients and families impacted by everything from severe head trauma to stroke.

Neuroscience nurses focus on the brain and the injuries and diseases that impact this essential and highly complex organ. With the rapid-fire developments in the field and the distinctive ways each person’s brain responds to any kind of disruption, neuroscience nurses’ skills are always evolving.

The American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, which has local chapters throughout the country, helps nurses with professional development, networking, and staying current with the latest trends and technology in the field. As a professional organization, it offers information on how nurses can obtain Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN) certification or a Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN) certification.

Neuroscience nurses care for patients who are vulnerable and who sometimes have injuries or diseases that have an uncertain prognosis. They may care for patients who have newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis, advanced Parkinson’s, encephalitis, or have recently suffered a mild or severe stroke. They may treat those who have been in a serious car accident and suffered a head injury or someone who has a neurological injury from a fall. They might also plan out care and treatment for patients with epilepsy or recovering from meningitis.

While caring for the patient, they must help families cope with the uncertainty or the potentially long recovery, and they also must guide them in the care they will need to provide to increase the prognosis for each patient. The patients might need occupational, speech, or physical therapy to relearn how to do many activities of daily living, and nurses will work with those teams as well.

Because of the variety of needs for neuroscience nurses, the field has potential job openings in many settings including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, nursing homes, and trauma units. An aging population also increases the demand for neuroscience nurses as various illnesses and conditions impact an aging brain.

Neuroscience nurses must have excellent critical thinking skills as each patient will respond differently to therapies and treatments. They also have many ways of helping and engaging both patients and families to improve outcomes.

Thank a neuroscience nurse in your life this week!

Philippine Nurse Receives First DAISY Award in Neuroscience

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and The Foundation for the Elimination of Diseases Attacking the Immune System (DAISY) recently honored Cedars-Sinai’s neuroscience nursing staff with the inauguration of the hospital’s DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses program. The awards recognize the outstanding and often overlooked efforts of nurses who work with critically ill patients.

The DAISY Award is the country’s first national program conducted by patients and their families to honor excellence in nursing through monthly awards at participating hospitals. The program highlights the irreplaceable role nurses play in treating patients and providing emotional support to their families. The first Cedars-Sinai awards were presented to two nurses: Larie Padre, RN, is Cedars-Sinai’s first DAISY Award Neuroscience Nurse of the Month. Evelyn Ledin, RN, also received an award in appreciation of the care she gave to George Doll, a former neuroscience patient.

Cedars-Sinai is the third hospital in the nation to join the DAISY Award program. Every month, a nurse in the hospital’s Neuroscience Unit will be selected from a pool of nurses who have been nominated by patients and staff.

“We at Cedars-Sinai are proud to be among the first hospitals in the nation participating in the DAISY Award program,” says Linda Burnes Bolton, PhD, the African-American vice president and chief nursing officer at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. “Nurses are heroes everyday. Given the current national nursing shortage, the DAISY Award could not be launched at a better time. The DAISY Award and other nursing recognition program awards are an appropriate way to recognize nurses for providing the very best care to their patients.”

The DAISY Foundation also recently announced that it is launching a new initiative to encourage patients and their families who have had extraordinary experience with a nurse to apply to The DAISY Foundation to co-sponsor The DAISY Award for their hospital. Applications can be made via the foundation’s Web site at http://www.daisyfoundation.org/.