Neuroscience Nursing

Upstate University Hospital's Neuroscience Services represents a comprehensive continuum of services and care for neurology and neurosurgery patients. The Neuroscience nursing units work together to support patient process and care throughout each level of need. We pride ourselves on the neuroscience nursing specialty, focusing on the unique expertise needed to care for this specialized patient population.

As patients progress through their recovery they are moved from the Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit to the Neuroscience Intermediate Care unit and/or the Neuroscience Medical Surgical Unit in our beautiful facility in the East Tower. The Gamma Knife Center also cares for patients in need of specialized care. Daily discharge planning rounds, involving all members of the multi-disciplinary team, occur Monday through Friday.

Neuroscience Medical Surgical Unit (9G)

Linda Phillips, RN, MSN, BC
Patient Service Supervisor
315-464-9307 PhillilL@upstate.edu

Michelle F Vallelunga, RN, PSL
Patient Service Leader Trainer
315-464-9355 WalleluM@upstate.edu

9G is the 19-bed Neuroscience Medical Surgical Unit. The nurses on this unit care for a wide range of patients who have undergone complex neurological procedures as well as trauma. The unit also cares for a wide range of neurology diagnoses including stroke and migraine. The unit also has telemetry monitoring capability for 16 patients.

Neuroscience Intermediate Care Unit (9E)

Victoria Casper, RN, BSN
Patient Service Supervisor
315-464-9354 CasperV@upstate.edu

Tracy Allen-Kocik, RN, BSN, CNRN
Patient Service Leader Trainer
315-464-9913 KocikT@upstate.edu

The Neuroscience Intermediate Care Unit is a 13-bed combination step-down, stroke and epilepsy monitoring unit. The nurses are trained in critical care as well as epilepsy monitoring. This unit is the primary support for patients admitted with newly diagnosed stroke in need of emergent TPA administration. All beds have state-of-the-art monitoring capability.

Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit (9F)

Kim Spinelli, RN, CNRN
Patient Service Supervisor
315-464-4341 SpinellK@upstate.edu

The Neuroscience Intensive Care Unit is a state-of-the-art 14-bed neuroscience intensive care unit. 9F is the only Neuro ICU in Central New York. Nurses in this unit care for the complex neurocritically ill patient requiring advanced neuromonitoring and neuro-assessment. Common patient diagnoses include brain trauma, subarachnoid hemorrhage, subdural and epidural hematomas, brain tumors, and status epilepticus. Complex treatment modalities in the NSICU include intracranial pressure monitoring, and external ventricular drainage, the use of brain tissue oxygenation monitoring and induced therapeutic hypothermia for cardiac arrest as well as for complex neurological conditions. Specialized training and education is provided during orientation. A learning environment is supported in the daily routine of the NSICU staff.

Central New York Gamma Knife® Center

Rich Williams, RN
Patient Service Manager
315-464-8200 WilliamR@upstate.edu

The neuroscience program at University Hospital is home to one of the latest advances in Neurosurgery, the Leksell Gamma Knife Model C. With unparalleled precision, the Gamma Knife delivers powerful doses of radiation to a variety of lesions in the brain, including some previously considered inoperable. Gamma Knife radiosurgery is now the standard of treatment for many brain tumors, including many previously considered inoperable, AVM's and trigeminal neuralgia. This state-of-the-art technology provides a tremendous dimension in the treatment of neurosurgical patients.

NYS Designated Stroke Center

Catherine Stephens, RN, MS
Stroke Program Coordinator
315-464-8041 StephenC@upstate.edu

The Stroke Center focuses on acute therapies for ischemic stroke, including drug treatment and interventional procedures, as well as management of critically ill hemorrhagic stroke patients. At the time of presentation, the Emergency Department and unit nurses are part of a multidisciplinary approach which focuses on the acute care, stabilization, secondary stroke prevention and education for patients and families. Together with members of the rehabilitation team, they facilitate the stroke patient's maximal functional independence.

Orientation and Training

All nursing staff in neurosciences are encouraged to pursue additional education and training and many of our staff take advantage of the tuition support programs that University Hospital offers.

All nurses work with a dedicated preceptor and attend regular progress meetings with their manager and preceptor. Our orientation is comprehensive and exposes nurses to the neuroscience continuum of care. All licensed staff attend the Neuroscience nursing program which includes detailed review of brain anatomy and function, neurological assessment, and review of care of this specialized patient population. We encourage and financially support pursuit of certification in the neuroscience nursing specialty. As a result, many of the neuro-science nurses have attained certification in Neuroscience Nursing (CNRN).