What role do nurses play in the care of patients with epilepsy?

Nurses are on the frontline of medicine. Their multiple tasks may include the following:

  • Obtaining information about a medical problem, sometimes before any other medical personnel
  • Reviewing with patients their current medical status
  • Serving as the translator between the doctor and the patient
  • Educating patients: may provide written instructions, distribute literature, show videotapes further explaining epilepsy and the doctor's recommendations, or answer questions over the telephone and in person

What role do nurse-clinicians play?

Nurse-clinicians are specially trained nurses who help assess, coordinate, and implement patient education and care. Some of their specific duties include the following:

  • Answering routine questions over the telephone (e.g., about laboratory results, upcoming tests, adverse effects of medications, dosage schedules, interactions between antiepileptic drugs and other medications, and the safety of activities)
  • Making referrals to other members of the health care team, such as the social worker or the physical therapist

What are nurse practitioners and what do they do?

Nurse practitioners are nurses who undergo extensive advanced training and special licensure examinations. They are licensed by the state to take a medical history, examine patients, order tests, and prescribe medications, including narcotics and other restricted substances. Although supervised by doctors, they can diagnose diseases and treat patients rather independently.

 

Authored by: Steven C. Schachter, MD on 10/2013
Reviewed by: Joseph I. Sirven, MD | Patricia O. Shafer, RN, MN on 10/2013
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