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Rewards of neuro nursing

By: Katherine Walters, RN

I am a nurse at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, WV, on the Neuro Intensive Care Unit. I work with some of the most critically ill patients. Neurology nursing can be challenging especially during a pandemic such as COVID-19 that is causing different types of strokes in patients. Neuro patients have complex needs that vary. The environment is intense, and consistently changing. Having a vast knowledge in critical care and of the CNS is highly beneficial working with these patients.

As a neuro intensive care nurse you have to be ready to take in new information, adapt to the situation fast and remain focused. When assessing these patients you have to be detailed and able to identify the slightest changes.

Knowing the function of the brain and how it is affected by different situation, trauma, or viruses and diseases is the interesting part of being a neuro nurse. The brain has the capability to get better. Surrounding areas to the damaged brain will take over the function of that area. This is why rehab after brain trauma is highly recommended. It’s exciting and rewarding when you are able to witness the progress of patients. When assessing a patient that would not respond to anything on day one shift to opening their eyes and following commands by the end of your third shift. Patients whose recovery seemed dim at the onset of treatment go on to rehab and have a quality of life with their families.

I often have people tell me “I could never do that type of work”. I always reply “Having the knowledge and skills, I would feel worse if I didn’t try.” I may not be able to help everyone but, if I can help someone, it’s an amazing feeling.

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