Nursing Excellence: Brain & Spine Institute

Comprehensive Stroke Center

 Experiencing a stroke is a life changing event. Immediate and appropriate treatment initially is a critical component of recovery.  The University of Tennessee Medical Center Stroke Team is committed to providing evidence-based care to East Tennesseans experiencing ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke.

The medical center’s certified Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center has been recognized as an American Stroke Association/American Heart Association Performance Achievement Award winner annually since 2008. The Stroke Center has been awarded the ASA’s highest level of recognition annually since 2012, demonstrating an ongoing commitment to quality improvement initiatives related to stroke patient care.

The Stroke Team at The University of Tennessee Medical Center is a multidisciplinary team, with representation from all disciplines and departments that span the continuum of stroke patient care. Nursing plays a pivotal role in the treatment of stroke–from the prehospital setting to rehabilitation. The Stroke Center team places a high priority on professional development for neuroscience nurses. Cerebrovascular focused continuing nursing education is offered in various formats. Staff nurses participate in facility and community education events directed at increasing awareness regarding stroke prevention, recovery, and recognition. Nurses have the opportunity to participate in quality improvement initiatives directed at improving outcomes for stroke patients.

Staff, as well as our patients and their families, benefit from the multidisciplinary team approach.  EMS professionals, pharmacists, radiologic technicians, laboratory staff, pastoral care, rehabilitation professionals, advanced practice nurses, and physicians work together with nurses to provide excellent care to this challenging group of patients. Weekly case reviews provide the opportunity to continuously evaluate our process. Feedback is provided weekly to all team members for each Code Stroke experience.

Cerebrovascular nursing is a challenging and rewarding specialty. There are opportunities throughout the University of Tennessee Medical Center to provide care to patients experiencing ischemic and hemorrhagic stroke, including the Emergency Department, Neuro Critical Care, Neuro-Interventional, Radiology, 6 East Neuro/Stroke, 6 South Neuro/Spine.

Neuro/Spine Unit

As part of the Brain and Spine Institute, our Neuro/Spine Unit is a 27-bed unit that specializes in the excellent care of patients with neurological, degenerative and spine-related disease processes. We specifically care for patients in the postoperative period from a variety of spinal surgeries that can include:

  • Anterior cervical decompression and fusion
  • Posterior lumbar interbody fusion
  • Thoracic lumbar interbody fusion
  • Discectomy
  • Kyphoplasty
  • Hardware removal

Our neuro/spine patient population consists predominantly of patient with disease processes related to the vascular and central nervous system. These can include:

  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Encephalopathy
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Paresthesia

We serve patients and their families by utilizing a multidisciplinary approach towards patient-centered care, rehabilitation, and discharge planning. The multidisciplinary team consists of a clinical director, nurse manager, clinical nurse specialist, clinical nurse educator, professional nursing staff, clinical pharmacist, rehabilitation therapy and case management. The Neuro/Spine Unit has daily discharge rounds and weekly multidisciplinary rounds that support the patient’s hospital needs and facilitates the discharge process. This allows for continuity of care during and after the hospital stay. Our skilled and professional team members promote and deliver high-quality patient and family-centered care.

The University of Tennessee Medical Center encourages specialty certification. Nurses with at least two years of direct patient care experience with these populations are given the opportunity to become professionally certified. Certification includes Registered Nurse (NVRN), Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN), or Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN).

Neuro/Stroke Unit

As part of the medical center's Brain and Spine Institute, the Neuro/Stroke Unit is a 30-bed, acute-care telemetry unit that specializes in the care of complex neurological patients – with a focus on strokes. 

Our multidisciplinary team consists of:

  • Clinical director
  • Nurse manager
  • Clinical nurse specialist
  • Clinical nurse educator
  • Stroke coordinator
  • Stroke director
  • Stroke nurse practitioner
  • Rehabilitation services
  • Neuro-mobility specialists
  • Speech therapist
  • Case management
  • Pharmacist
  • Dietician

Our patient population can include, but not limited to, the following:

  • Chronic/acute comprehensive stroke patients
  • Complex brain tumors
  • Post-craniotomy patients
  • Complicated migraines
  • Various other neurological, autoimmune or degenerative diseases

Our skilled and professional team promotes and delivers high-quality patient and family-centered care. 

The medical center encourages specialty certification. Certification includes Neurovascular Registered Nurse (NVRN), Stroke Certified Registered Nurse (SCRN), or Certified Neuroscience Registered Nurse (CNRN).

The Neuro/Stroke unit plays an integral role with the Comprehensive Stroke Center and has been recognized as an American Stroke Association/American Heart Association Performance Achievement Award winner annually since 2008. Since 2011, the Stroke Center team has earned the Get with the Guidelines Gold Plus Performance Award annually.