YON 2020 Day 185: Julie Fussner BSN, RN, CPHQ, SCRN

The Stroke Operations Manager for the University Hospitals System, Julie Fussner, BSN, RN, CPHQ, SCRN, has been working in the UH Neurological Institute for the last 10 years and in the UH system for over 30 years in a variety of nursing roles.

My mantra: It is all about the patients and their outcomes.

In my first year as a nurse, I encountered one patient who I will never forget. He was a gentleman with a history of a kidney transplant who was post-op from total knee replacement. I was coming on night shift. In 1986, a night shift nurse on a medical-surgical floor had 10 to 12 patients as an assignment without any clinical support. From report I learned that pedal pulses in the operative leg were hard to find. After doing my assessment and finding a cool foot and no pulses, I repeatedly paged the resident over period of time without any response. I consulted a more senior nurse, and despite being very nervous, I called the attending surgeon at home and woke him up. The patient was taken back to the OR for a thrombectomy. The resident was angry that I used the chain of command, but I knew I had made a difference in the outcome of that patient.

I love the variety of nursing! Many years of my career were spent working in critical care units. It is a very challenging combination of technology, pharmacology, and compassion. The patients are so scared, and amid all the IV pumps and monitors, there is a vulnerable person that needs a nurse to get them through one of the toughest times of their lives.

In my current position, together with the system stroke medical director, we have standardized stroke care throughout our UH system. Keeping our clinical practice guidelines updated, developing annual education modules for nursing, physicians and staff, leading performance improvement projects to improve stroke care processes, and maintaining system certifications fill my days. Through the certification process for all of our hospitals, we continue to strive to give our stroke patients the best opportunity for a good outcome. I keep asking myself and my peers “How can we do better?”

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