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First specialist stroke nursing course

First specialist stroke nursing course

New Zealand’s first specialist stroke nursing course will be underway next year for registered nurses.

The University of Auckland’s School of Nursing will be up-skilling registered nurses with the six-day course starting in February. It will be open to any registered nurse with an interest in nursing stroke patients.

“We’re responding to increasing demand,” says Dr Julia Slark, who will be leading the course. “The need for specialist knowledge in this area is really growing. This is partly because of New Zealand’s ageing population, and partly because stroke as a nursing specialty is new to New Zealand.”

Dr Slark says The National Clinical Guidelines for stroke nursing, highlight the need for nurses caring for stroke survivors to acquire specialist training. Doing so will “ensure patients with complex needs receive the best quality of care,” she says.

Dr Slark recently joined the School of Nursing as a senior lecturer and member of the Palliative and End of Life Care Research Group. She brings with her from the United Kingdom, 12 years’ experience as a clinical nurse specialist in stroke nursing.

Before moving to New Zealand this year, Dr Slark steered London’s largest hyper-acute stroke unit, through the implementation of the London Stroke Model, (at the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust in London).

The Model ensures that everyone in London with a suspected stroke is taken to a Hyper Acute Stroke Unit (HASU) within 30 minutes, where they are treated by specialist stroke staff with advanced intervention and treatment. In 2012 the London Imperial HASU was voted by the Royal College of Physicians as the United Kingdom’s best out of 150 units.

Dr Slark completed her PhD in secondary stroke prevention and her master’s degree in practice development. She has been named one of six finalists for the Nursing Times (UK) 2013 Nurse of the Year Award. The winner will be announced in London at the end of October.


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