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Downstate Times

The Newsletter for SUNY Downstate
University Hospital of Brooklyn

Time Saved = Lives Saved
Sharing Best Practices in Acute Stroke Management with Nurses Abroad

photo of nurses

Donareen Denny instructs nurses on stroke care at University Hospital of the West Indies.

By Dianne Forbes Woods RN, MA, NE-BC
Deputy Nursing Director

When Donareen Denny, BSN, MSN, RN-CCRN, registered to attend the 2013 Advancements in Medicine Conference in Jamaica, West Indies, in February, she had no idea that she would be teaching as well as learning. But once the conference coordinator saw Ms. Denny's credentials, she invited her to teach an ECG workshop and present at a meeting of the Cardiology/Neurology Section.

Knowing that cerebrovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in Jamaica, Ms. Denny chose to present on "Current Approaches in Stroke Care."

"Being asked to teach at the conference was a wonderful opportunity to share my experiences and knowledge with international nurses," says Ms. Denny. "But I was mindful that nursing practices in Jamaica may be different than our own. Would their nurses have the resources to implement all the steps in the stroke treatment and prevention protocols that we have developed at Downstate?"

SUNY Downstate has long been recognized as a leader in stroke research, treatment, and preventive care. This year, it received the coveted Gold Plus Performance Achievement Award from the American Heart/ American Stroke Association. However, certain treatments offered here, such as recombinant tissue plasminogen activator (rtPA), which greatly improves neurological recovery when administered within three hours of the onset of acute ischemic stroke, are very expensive. At a cost of nearly $3,800 for a 100 mg vial of rtPA, is that drug likely to be available to patients in Jamaica, Ms. Denny wondered?

She decided to focus her talk on best practices in stroke management that nurses in Jamaica can easily implement. Her lecture could not have been more timely, for Jamaica's University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is now in the process of establishing a Primary Stroke Center—the first of its kind on the island.

Ms. Denny's presentation and the ECG workshop she co-conducted with a physician from the Mayo Clinic were so well received that she has been asked to return to Jamaica to continue teaching nurses at UHWI about stroke patient care.