Care for neurosurgery patients before and after their operation.
What does a Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioner do?
Brain surgery is extremely difficult. Indeed, even Brain Surgeons (that is, Neurosurgeons) find it challenging. Luckily, they often have Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioners to help them care for their patients.
If you’re one of those Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioners, you’re what’s called an Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, or ACNP, which means you’ve been specially trained to treat critically ill patients who’ve been admitted to the hospital for inpatient care. An ACNP who’s been assigned to work with one or more Neurosurgeons, you’re basically responsible for looking after patients who are in the hospital undergoing neurosurgical procedures.
Although a Neurosurgeon, of course, does the actual surgery, he or she relies on a Neurosurgery Nurse Practitioner to do pretty much everything else before and after it — and, sometimes, to assist during it. Your duties, for instance, include typical nursing duties such as doing physical examinations, recording patient histories, taking blood, and administering IVs and injections. They also include conducting diagnostic tests, dispensing medications, and educating patients and their families. In addition, you’re responsible for performing specific neurosurgical procedures, like the insertion of lumbar drains and arterial catheters, and the reprogramming of shunts.
Although many of those duties are common to Nurses — Registered Nurses, in particular — you have more education and more training than most of your nursing peers, which qualifies you to do more, and in many cases act as a substitute Physician (or, if you prefer, a “Super Nurse”!).