Developing a Stroke Center
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Stroke neurologists are in high demand as increasing numbers of hospitals develop new or expand existing stroke programs. A growing number of recent neurology graduates are hired as neurohospitalists by hospital networks, with the goal of improving stroke care.1 Although stroke subspecialty training is not required to be a stroke director, it is highly valued; in a survey of academic neurology departments, 73% of respondents ranked clinical expertise in stroke as the most important requirement for a neurohospitalist.2 Charged with leading a stroke program, these early career physicians are expected not only to provide clinical stroke care but also to assume major administrative responsibilities. These may include guiding a community hospital (with or without an academic affiliation) to Primary Stroke Center status, expanding a larger hospital’s program to become Comprehensive Stroke Center certified, or simply maintaining the stringent quality measures required by the Joint Commission and other regulatory bodies.3
Stroke fellows typically train in large academic centers with established stroke programs, and recent graduates may encounter significant challenges when transitioning to a leadership role in a less developed program. Faced with a new set of colleagues, new systems of care, and often a new geographical location, newly minted stroke neurologists may initially feel overwhelmed. We outline 7 strategies that may prove …