When someone experiences a lack of blood flow to the brain, they’re likely to experience a stroke. When blood flow to the brain is ceased, brain cells don’t receive the oxygen they need to survive, therefore, a stroke can effectively destroy brain cells, which can have a detrimental effect on your health. While there’s a variety of risk factors that can contribute to a stroke, stroke symptoms range from minor (confusion, loss of memory, numbness, etc.) to severe (permanent brain damage). And, that’s where the stroke coordinator or stroke nurse coordinator comes into play. Specifically, a stroke coordinator organizes and administers stroke-related outreach programs. This consists of educating the public about the importance of stroke prevention (and identifying the most at-risk demographics in your area), while maintaining and recommending post-stroke care for patients.
A stroke coordinator position is one of many specialties of nursing that you can embark on in the medical field. Here’s a look at some of the duties, skills, education and other information that are required to become a successful stroke coordinator:
As we told you in the opening, the stroke coordinator is responsible, generally speaking, for coordinating stroke outreach programs within a particular hospital setting. This consists of helping educate the public on the importance of stroke prevention, what risk factors often contribute to strokes and what steps you can take to live a healthier life to prevent not just the onset of a stroke, but other health issues in general. Stroke coordinators serve primarily informative roles with the public and hospital patients. They also work with patients that have suffered a stroke in an effort to help them live a healthier lifestyle to prevent future additional strokes and continue their post-stroke care. The position is much more of a communication-type role than that of a typical RN, as you don’t only deal with specific patients, but with community members on a whole.
So what exactly is required to become a stroke coordinator? While a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree is required by prospective employers, an MSN is preferred. So to recap, while a two-year or four-year degree is an absolute requirement, a BSN-MSN will undoubtedly give you a leg up on any of the competition. Other qualifications include earning nursing certification and at least two years of experience in an emergency or neurological setting is preferred by most employers. In a nutshell, the education requirements aren’t too different than what it would take to become an RN – a college degree, experience and certification.
There’s a variety of other skills (both tangible and intangible) that you’ll need to possess – or at least that medical employers prefer you exhibit – in the position of a stroke coordinator. For instance, you’ll obviously need to be extremely knowledgeable in regards to strokes, clinical medical settings and case management skills. But, you’ll also need to be extremely knowledgeable of the community that you’ll be working in for your stroke outreach programs to be the most effective. If you’re not in tune with the community, how can you be sure that you’re reaching the right demographics of people in your programs?
Furthermore, stroke coordinators also need to be proficient using a computer, and must be good working with people. Yes, you read that correctly – stroke coordinators also need to possess some PR savvy. Since the position involves organizing outreach programs, which, as we’ve told you, involve the community. And of course, there are other skills preferred that are necessary for any position, let alone that of a stroke coordinator. This includes being able to work effectively in the team-oriented environment, time management skills and ability to meet deadlines.