How Nurses Can Partner With National Institutes of Health StrokeNet to Deliver Best Research and Care to Stroke Patients
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) StrokeNet is a cooperative research network supported by National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke and was established to facilitate maximization of efficiencies in stroke treatments. The main components include the National Coordinating Center at the University of Cincinnati, the National Data Management Center at the Medical University of South Carolina, and 25 Regional Coordinating Centers across the United States. Site selection is based on many criteria, a few being strong stroke research abilities and geographical location. The network was NIH funded and began building its infrastructure in 2013.1 Centers are submitting competitive renewal applications in the fall of 2017 for a second 5-year award. Benefits of the stroke research network are beginning to come to fruition.
Nursing and Clinical Stroke Research of the Past
For decades, bedside and clinic nurses have inadvertently been exposed to clinical research involving alteplase and other investigational interventions to improve stroke outcomes. Nurses’ learning has likely been enhanced by working with various treatments and the need to acquire keen assessment skills. Benefits of first-hand involvement have increased understanding of processes, such as urgency of treatment times and risks of bleeding. These components are now recognized as stroke care standards.2 Guideline development by a group of experienced research nurses has facilitated knowledge dissemination.3 It is difficult to imagine that even indirect exposure to investigational treatments does not benefit nurses and ultimately patients.
Being at the forefront of stroke research continues to have potential to expose nurses to the next generation of clinical practice. Comprehensive stroke centers are required by The Joint Commission to demonstrate use of evidence-based care stroke guidelines and participate in research.4 Nurses play a significant role in research and in strategies to limit bias and enhance objectivity of an investigation. However, there are times when nurses may struggle ethically with …