Specialist hyper acute stroke units have created hundreds of jobs for nurses who are taking on increasingly advanced roles in stroke care.
Twelve units across England bring together experts and equipment under one roof to provide specialist round the clock care for stroke patients. This includes a brain scan within 30 minutes of arrival and thrombolysis where appropriate within three hours of the onset of symptoms.
One of the main worries around the plans for the units was the volume of extra nurses that would be needed and whether we could get them to come into stroke
Stroke nurses carry out patient assessments, support the delivery of thrombolysis, and carry out physiological and neurological monitoring.
As of last week, all patients suspected of having a stroke in London will be taken to one of eight hyper acute units which opened in February, creating 400 new nursing posts.
Guy’s and St Thomas’s Foundation Trust stroke specialist nurse Gill Cluckie said the units have “opened up huge opportunities” for nurses in stroke care.
“One of the main worries around the plans for the units was the volume of extra nurses that would be needed and whether we could get them to come into stroke,” she told Nursing Times.
She added: “Stroke care hasn’t traditionally been seen as very exciting and is not always the first point of call for newly qualified staff, but the last couple of years have seen a phenomenal sea change in the perception and culture around stroke.”
Caroline Watkins, professor of stroke services and older people’s care at the University of Central Lancashire, said stroke nursing had been “undervalued” but was now gaining recognition and career pathways in stroke nursing were becoming clearer.
“Nurses can now do specific [training] modules in stroke and roles for nurses are developing at a considerable pace,” she said.