Nurse Intern on a Neuro floor, what to expect?


I just got a job on a Neuro floor as a Nurse Intern. I was told that I would do Nurse Assistant work during busy times and then follow a nurse and do more of a nursing role while we aren't as busy. We mainly have stroke patients on this floor, it's a large hospital so many of the other neuro d/o are on their own units. I'm not really sure what to expect, I haven't done much with stroke patients as my clinicals haven't focused in that area yet. I graduate in Dec 2012 and thought this would be a great experience but would just like a little info as to what to expect. I went online and got my NIH stroke scale certification but that's as much as I can think to do to prepare. Any info would be great. Thanks :o


2 Posts

If I were you, I would read up about stroke and be familiar with the brain anatomy. If you master that as well as the cerebral blood flow, you will be ahead of the game. You will have an understanding of their clinical presentation just by knowing the area of the brain that has been affected. You should know how to assess GCS as well. Also, if you feel that something about your patient just isn't right, chances are, you are right. The most subtle neuro changes can be a sign of a larger underlying issue.

Specializes in NeuroCritical Care, Neurosurgery.

If you can buy Joanne Hickey's Guide to Neuroscience and Neurosurgical Nursing, you can buy an older version on Amazon for less. It has everything you ever wanted to know about neuro and will give you a good foundation. Good Luck!

KelRN215, BSN, RN

1 Article; 7,349 Posts

Specializes in Pedi. Has 16 years experience.

As far as what to expect goes... if you are dealing with a lot of stroke patients and doing nurse's aide work, you will do a LOT of assistance with ADLs. In the acute period, stroke patients are maintained on strict bedrest so a lot of turning/repositioning, bedpans, bed baths, etc. Many of the patients will be total care at the beginning because of the deficits from the stroke. A patient with aphasia may very well understand everything you are saying to him but be unable to respond. Don't assume that because they can't speak that they aren't in there. I worked in neuro for 5 years and the patients who came in walking and talking and left unable to do either really tug at your heart strings, especially when you can see in their eyes that they're still in there.

Specializes in Neuroscience/Brain and Stroke.

Thank you all for the feedback, I will be working with stroke patients mainly with a little Tele overflow. I will be picking up 5 nursing assistants shifts a month and then coming in and following a nurse and doing any nursing work that doesn't require a license. I start Monday, I can't wait!!


310 Posts

Expect a lot of neurological assessments, seizures, lots of pain relief if you get post ops