Providing Care for a Patient with an Injury to the Spinal Cord

Karen Stenger MA, RN, CCRN-K is a Nurse Practice Leader (NPL) in the Intensive and Specialty Care nursing division at the University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics.  For the past thirty-five years, she is consulted to work with patients and staff to provide knowledge, care and support to patients with injuries to the spinal cord. She has been awarded one of the 100 Great Nurses in Iowa in 2006, the Corridor Business Journal Healthcare Hero award in 2012 and a Women of Influence in 2016. She is a member of the American Association of Critical Care Nursing and American Association of Neuroscience Nursing.

This session will discuss the anatomy of the spinal cord and key components of a complete spinal cord assessment as well as the care of the patient needed to prevent complications.  The session will conclude with the importance of providing hope and knowledge to the patient and their family.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Understand the correlative anatomy of the spinal cord and associated assessment findings.
  2. Describe key components to acute management of the patient with an injury to the spinal cord.
  3. List four common complications of a spinal cord injury and associated prevention strategies.