The Role of Nurse Practitioners in Multidisciplinary Stroke Care: Johanna L. Watkinson, APN

The acute care nurse practitioner at Overlook Medical Center spoke to the importance of having a multidisciplinary team when treating patients with stroke and the gaps that advanced practice providers can help fill.

“I will never practice as a neurosurgeon, and I will never be a neurologist. My role is important in that we complement each other. APNs and advanced practice providers, essentially, fill in the gaps and worry about the details.”

The Atlantic Health System annual stroke symposium was held virtually this June, featuring a variety of speakers from the system’s hospitals and care centers who shared their insight into the ongoing advances in the care of individuals with stroke and cerebrovascular conditions. In addition to the number of neurologists and neurosurgeons who offered their perspectives, Johanna L. Watkinson, APN, who is an acute care nurse practitioner at Overlook Medical Center, spoke about the care of individuals with hemorrhagic stroke in the neuro-ICU setting and the role that advanced practice providers (APPs) such as nurse practitioners (NPs) can play.

Specifically, in this conversation with NeurologyLive, she highlighted the importance of the multidisciplinary approach that is often taken in the care of these patients, who often present with complex conditions that are time-dependent in their needs for proper care. She discussed the complementary role that NPs can play for the neurologists and neurosurgeons to ensure that the patients are triaged correctly and that the correct information is passed down the lines of communication.

Additionally, Watkinson spoke to the advantages that the somewhat more holistic nursing approach can offer in the care these patients, specifically about the communication of complex details to the family members of the patients and how APPs and NPs can fill in the gaps amid the multiple moving parts involved, allowing the neuro-intensivist to focus on the minutia of the stroke physiology. She additionally detailed how this recognition of each team member’s skillsets and abilities can improve outcomes and streamline the care process overall.