Incredible work has been done in stroke prevention, care and patient rehabilitation in the era of modern nursing. In the local Campbell River Hospital (CRH) and across the province of British Columbia, Stroke Initiative Nurse Brenda Yule is well-known as a specialist in this area, ensuring residents in small communities like North Island receive the same standard of stroke care they would receive in a tertiary setting. Whether personally attending to stroke patients as soon as the event is reported, or training fellow health practitioners in best practices, her effective care has resulted in far brighter futures for countless patients.
Physicians and other care providers often seek out Brenda’s special expertise. “Brenda is a true leader, going the extra mile to ensure the highest standard of care is provided to patients and families,” says Vancouver Island Health Authority Regional Manager of Stroke Programs Kimberley Vaulkhard. “Using her knowledge of best practice standards, she collaborated with local physicians and helped develop clinical order sets and care pathways for stroke patients at CRH. Since their implementation, mortality rates from stroke at this site have dropped from 23 percent to 12 percent. That’s just one example of how her drive to achieve high standards has benefited patients.”
Brenda is an innovative nurse who doesn’t rely on a one-sizefits- all mode of treatment. “When educating patients, she tailors her approach to their needs, ensuring they understand the key message,” Vaulkhard says.
In preparation for her education efforts, she seeks out new research and best practices, attends professional development events like the Western Stroke Day and Canadian Stroke Congress and has developed algorithms for data collection through the continuum of stroke care — algorithms which have been adopted by several other community hospitals in the province. She works tirelessly to update her knowledge, as when Clinical Order Sets for Stroke Care at Campbell River Hospital were first developed; Brenda read through hundreds of documents to ensure she and her colleagues would be up to date.
Brenda wastes no time in putting that knowledge into practice. “The prevalence of depression in stroke patients was highlighted in the spring of 2013,” notes CRH Clinical Coordinator Susan McCormac. “By that fall, an anxiety and depression scale for stroke patients was initiated at CRH and the stroke care pathway was completely rewritten to include the depression scale and advanced directives.”
Brenda’s proactive approach isn’t just effective — it shows her commitment to ethical care as well. “When a colleague pointed out research that showed an outcome for a patient suffering a stroke in hospital was four times poorer than a patient presented to emergency, Brenda immediately assessed the situation at CRH and developed Code Hot Stroke to ensure patients had access to the same kind of emergency response as an outpatient.”
Providing close leadership and mentorship to colleagues locally and across the province, Brenda is nonetheless never more than a phone call away. Thanks to her, patients at hospitals in even more remote parts of BC can have a better chance to prevent future strokes and a better chance at recovery.