Why is neuro nursing so intimidating?
Maybe it's because the signs of neurological deterioration are incredibly subtle.
it’s because trying to understand something so overwhelmingly complex when all you want to do is survive each shift feels like a futile effort.
Maybe it's because it's kind of embarrassing to admit what you don't know when you feel like you should know it all at this point.
Or, maybe it’s because there is so much pressure to speak to neurosurgeons and neurologists on their level - on day one.
But... what if it didn't have to be that way?
What if you could catch subtle neuro decline as it's happening?
What if you could trust your own neuro nursing judgment?
What if highly complex neuro disease processes finally made complete sense to you?
What if you could confidently and concisely communicate neuro changes to a neurosurgeon?
What if you knew exactly how to explain complex neuro-pathophysiology to patients and loved ones with ease?
From Kati Kleber, MSN RN
Nurse Educator, American Nurses Association published author, and national speaker
Learning how to be a confident and competent neuro nurse is tough. I've been a nurse since 2010 and had the honor of working in neurocritical care for a generous portion of my career. While today I am a nurse educator with a specialty certification in critical care, I didn't start there.
I started out in neurocritical care back in 2012 incredibly intimidated and terrified. I was completely overwhelmed with learning how to care for critically ill patients - adding on their neurological issues was an entirely different obstacle I was not prepared for!
I was so scared that my patient's neuro status would begin declining and I would be totally clueless. I was constantly worried I was missing something.
Whenever neurosurgeons and neurologists would round on my patients, I was so nervous they would ask me a question that would reveal how little I actually did know about neuro microanatomy and embarrass me in front of everyone.
With each shift, I would fumble through answering my patient's and their loved ones questions, knowing I wasn't making much sense but didn't what else to say.
It was such a steep learning curve, but I made it through to the other side. Thanks to some amazing nurse educators sowing into my development, I was able to not only understand the why behind my actions but also learn how to become incredibly efficient at my time management and clear with my communication.
It was as if the nurse heavens parted and I saw the light!
While the NCLEX® and nursing school did a great job of introducing neuro concepts and theory, there is so much more to know to safely care for neuro patients. It also prepares you for "perfect world" nursing, not the real world nursing you're going to work in.
So what other neuro resources are out there?
There are text books, research articles, and professional nursing
organization... but that information is far too technical. You need
something to help you at the bedside
Nothing too broad, and nothing so detailed and highly technical that you can’t make sense of it. It’s crucial to break all of these really complex concepts down into terms that make sense for you - the bedside nurse new to neuro.
This is especially important because it will enable you to educate patients and loved ones better, while helping you know what to look out for in terms of complications and warning signs all while managing your time safely and efficiently.
And let's be honest.
Being a nurse is tough. There is so much to know and it is constantly evolving.
This is especially true for newly licensed nurses.
While many of us know how to keep patients safe, a lot of us don’t know the why behind our actions for some time into our job. We are so focused on getting things done, staying caught up, and keeping patients safe that we don't have time to ask specifically how mannitol reduce cerebral edema, why patients with a temporal lobe stroke have a high risk for seizure activity, or why the neurosurgeon always asks what the sodium level was.
We just give the mannitol... give the Keppra... and tell him or her the latest sodium level.
Only until we get into a groove can we even think about diving into the why behind things.
Sure, we passed a test or maybe even worked in another nursing unit, but just because we get hired into neuro and sit through some classes or pass some mandatory education tests doesn’t mean we get it. There’s so much pressure in those classes to say the right thing so can make sure you save face.
But... what if we didn't have to wait until months after beginning our orientation to really get our minds around important information?
What if you could start your neuro job with a practical knowledge of
neuro anatomy and disease processes so you could focus on learning the
intricacies of your unit?
What if you had access to a resource to answer all of those questions that you could work through at your own pace?
What if you could learn about the must-know information to take care of neuro patients at home so you could look like a neuro rock star on the unit?
Neuro Wise - A Crash Course for New Neuro Nurses
The online course for motivated nurses new to acute care neuro who desire straight-forward and practical education they can apply to their very next shift.
Get started now!
With the Neuro Wise: A Crash Course for New Neuro Nurses, here's a few things you'll learn:
- How to perform a flawless neuro assessment on both conscious and unconscious neurologically compromised patients - with video examples! [Neuro Assessments section]
- How to detect neurological decline and how to communicate it in an educated and concise manner to neurologists, neurosurgeons, neurointensivists, and advanced practice providers [Noticing Subtle Neuro Changes Module & Communicating Assessment Findings module, Primary and Secondary Injuries module]
- The most common neuro disease processes you'll come across in acute care [Neuro Disease Processes section with with 19+ different pathophysiological processes discussed]
- What is really happening with brain death testing and organ procurement, and your role as the primary nurse [Organ Donation and Procurement modules]
- Why neuro docs cares so much about sodium levels and how to safely correct them [It's All About the Salt section]
- What to expect from your orientation into a neuro nursing unit and how to optimize it so you can begin to work as autonomously as quickly as possible [Neuro Orientation module]
- How to receive nursing report like a pro, know what questions to ask, and what red flags to watch out for [Neuro Report modules]
- How to give a thorough yet concise neuro nursing report and sound like a highly experienced neuro nurse [Neuro Report modules]
- All the common neuro procedures like thrombectomies, craniotomies and so many more! [Common Procedures section]
- Common neuro equipment and monitoring like external ventricular drains, bolts, vents, art lines, Licox® catheters, and ICP monitoring [Equipment section]
- How to detect and manage neurological emergencies [Neurological Emergencies section]
- ... and so much more!
Enroll now and get instant access to...
Over 70 modules of text, audio, video, and downloads
- Multiple downloads – including checklists, worksheets, charts, and more, specifically designed to print and bring to work with you to supplement and support your learning process
- Videos demonstrating neuro anatomy and pathophysiology – illustrating the top disease processes impacting acute care neuro patients
10.0 contact hours + 10 hours of supplemental content!
A pre and post test to check your knowledge (complete with rationales)
- Talking points to get you through challenging moments
Sample CT scans of what neuro disease processes actually look like
- An insider’s look into etiquette, unwritten rules, tips, tidbits, and nurse hacks
- Encouragement from experienced nurses who care about your progress and development - and want to see YOU succeed!
Get started now!
"This course gave me the information I needed to sound confident in my unit about basic concepts and the courage to ask questions about what I didn't understand! I'm able to communicate more effectively with my neurosurgeons and feel much more equipped to give them the information they are looking for when they round! It's been such a confidence booster for me right off of orientation - I am so thankful for the work you do for all us baby nurses!! It is 150% worth it - I've told every single new grad on my unit about it since I was hired!"
- Rachel Garrou, BSN RN, Neurosurgical/Trauma ICU
"Most recently, I was able to detect a pupillary change in my patient that was likely related to over-sedation. Nonetheless, I escalated care, advocating for my patient and clarifying the patient’s actual RASS score as compared to what had been documented. Understanding the importance of obtaining an accurate baseline neurological assessment empowers me to communicate all findings to the team. All of the FreshRN courses are helpful and encouraging. Kati Kleber and her colleagues share must know information that may be otherwise challenging to learn during orientation. You can also go back to the lessons at any time to review course content, and preparation is ultimately the key to becoming a competent and safe nurse."
- Inga Schwartz MSN RN CNL NREMT, Critical Care Unit
"I was new to the Neuro world and was not as confident with my assessments and knowledge, until I found your program! It gave me the information I needed to detect even the slightest changes and changed the way I viewed assessments. Each one matters when it comes to Neuro. Thank you."
- Sandy Louis BSN RN, Neuro Stepdown
"I love this course (and all of Kati’s courses). She somehow is so thorough in the information, while also making the information easy to comprehend. She interests me in her lectures. I have experience in medical/ surgical/ telemetry and will soon transfer to an intensive care unit floating in between a cardiac and neuro icu. As a nurse with little experience with neuro and critical patient, I believe her neuro crash course and her ICU crash course has helped prepare me for this transition!"
- Hannah Schwartz BSN RN, Medical-Telemetry
"I have just been able to more confidently and accurately explain neuro conditions to patients and family as they experience their stay in the ICU. Being more confident and understanding the complexities of neuro care have enabled me to better care for for my patients. As a new nurse, this course was a game changer for me."
- Aaron Baxter RN, Med-Neuro ICU
Get started now!
Meet Your Instructors, Encouragers, and Motivators...
After completion of this activity, learners will be able to:
- Identify peak swelling time for cerebral edema after a neurological injury and discuss warning signs of increasing intracranial pressure
- Describe how hyponatremia causes cerebral edema
- Formulate common neuro examination findings, abnormalities, intrinsic and extrinsic factors for alteration
- Describe signs of a neurological emergency and outline appropriate immediate interventions
- Outline immediate nursing interventions and considerations in the event that a new neurological change is detected during a nursing assessment
Frequently Asked Questions
Get started now!
What current Neuro Wise students would say to someone considering purchasing this course...
"Do it. You'll appreciate the information, Kati's enthusiasm and
, and the confidence it will instill for talking all things
Brian Smith RN BSN, Neurosciences
"Great content and very realistic to what you actually encounter on the job." - Michelle Dretke BSN RN, Neuro ICU
"I highly recommend this course for anyone working in a neuroscience
unit. The course made me feel more comfortable with what I do. I was a
new grad when I landed my first nurse job in the Neuro ICU. Prior to
working, I had limited neuro knowledge. I was, of course, very
intimidated because I was told that the learning curve will be very
steep. Through this course, I was less intimidated. It's a useful tool
to have in conjunction with orientation classes I was taking.
It made me
feel more comfortable and less scared
Lillian Ruan BSN RN CCRN, Neuro ICU
"Totally worth it - go through all steps and take notes." - Nicole Beyer, BSN RN Neuro Intermediate
"Very informative and helpful, especially for new nurses." - Latasha Pitts BSN RN, Neuro Stepdown
"As a new Neuro nurse, I look back to my women’s health days and all the strokes or possible strokes I saw and how they were handled. I wish I had known about this course to empower myself back then. No matter what kind of nursing you work in, chances are you will see some kind of neurological pathology, so go ahead, take the course! Empower yourself !" - Paige Morrison BSN RN, Neuroscience ICU
"If you’re looking to take your career in Neuro and nursing confidence to another level! This is the course." - Sandy Louis, BSN RN, Neuro Stepdown
"Definitely enroll!" - Veronica Pope BSN RN, ER Nurse
"There's nothing better than genuine advice and knowledge from nurses
that have been in your exact spot at one point, and being able to
that knowledge into your own experience
. This course definitely gives
you that." -
Laura Slaven BSN RN, Neuro ICU
"Worth it!" Josylou Nuesca RN, Intensive Care Unit
"I took this course as a refresher after a year long MLOA. It was a
great refresher to get my head back in the game
and it helped build my
confidence as a Neuro nurse working in acute care." -
"This course is visually attractive and layout systematically so you can always go back and refer to in future." - Anusuya ADN, Stroke Unit
"Highly recommend." - Rachel Dzurilla BSN RN, Neuro ICU/PCU
"It’s the best." - Brittany Ko BSN RN, Trauma Neuro ICU
"This helped me move from neuro med surg nurse to neuro ICU nurse manager. Do it!" - Kari Epperson BSN RN, Neurosurgery
"Do it!!" - Jennifer Sprung BSN RN, Neuro ICU
"It's worth it." - Nicole Hill BSN, Neuro Trauma ICU
"Excellent resource for new nurses and someone who wants to invest in neuro knowledge." - Karolina RN, Neuro- Stepdown
"It's a good review for anyone. I am a neuro Bridge nurse who works in an Neuro IMC and once a week in a neuro ICU." - Dawn Meadows BSN RN, Neuro Stepdown and Neuro ICU
"Great tutorial for new grads and review for the experienced nurse." - Tanya Lyte MSN RN
"I started right out of nursing school on a neuro icu floor and this
helped me fully understand strokes and I am now able to actually
explain to family members what is going on with their family member.
Rebecca Babbitt RN
"It’s comprehensive and worth it!" - Kristen Rapp, MS RN Neuro ICU
"Absolutely worth it." Nisha Salimon BSN RN, Neurosurgery Stepdown unit
"Reduced my stress on Neuro pts, made me confident." - Sarah BSN RN
"DO IT! IT IS WORTH THE MONEY!!" - Nicole Underwood BSN RN, Emergency Department
"It helped me simplify Neuro content for pre- licensure nursing students in my classroom. Excellent content. Delivers value!" - Katrina Watson RN MSN CNEcl Educator
"I’ve already suggested it to other newbies." - Kristen Dagenais BSN RN SCRN, Neuro-Trauma ICU
"Do it! I found so much value in this course." - Chelsea Tahan, BSN RN, Trauma/Neuro PCU
"Useful and good web interface." - Herbert Mumford BSN, RN SCRN ASC-BC, Stroke Program Coordinator