The Nursing Department of the IMSMP is comprised of a nurse practitioner, 11 full-time registered nurses and a number of part-time nurses as well as a nurse's aides. The nurses at the IMSMP have extensive experience in caring for MS patients. They offer comprehensive, compassionate medical service and can have a tremendous impact on our patients' lives. Since the nurses function throughout the various departments within the center, the interaction between patients and nurses becomes the foundation for the center's all-encompassing philosophy of care. When patients require a particular level of continuity of care for a specific problem, one individual nurse will be assigned to that patient to facilitate their management.
To further ensure an unparalleled level of nursing excellence, within the department our nurses have their own subspecialties, including:
The IMSMP nurses staff a phone line from 9am to 5pm daily, and most Saturdays, that is dedicated to addressing patients' concerns. One of our MS trained registered nurses is assigned to the nurses' line each day to field calls from patients. Patients are encouraged to call if they experience new symptoms, have questions about medications or treatments, or simply want to give us updates on their condition. Throughout the day, the nurse consults with the physician and returns the patient's call by the end of the day.
The infusion suite, led by James McKee, R.N. the nurse manager of infusions, is staffed by oncology trained nurses whose extensive knowledge of preparing, administering and monitoring patients during intravenous infusions is essential to our patients' safety and peace of mind. Their vast experience with IV placement ensures that even patients with poor IV access will receive their IV medications with the least amount of discomfort. A nurses' aide is also present in the suite to closely monitor patients clinically as well as assist in making our patients as comfortable as possible. The infusion suite is open 7 days a week, one of the first outpatient centers in the United States to offer this degree of service. For more information on how to prepare for your IV Treatment, please see our Patient Information section.
The prescription line is a dedicated message system which allows patients to call their request for refills into the nurses in an efficient, streamlined process. All prescription requests phoned in before 3 PM on weekdays are processed that day and after 3 PM they are processed the next business day.
An MS trained nurse takes part in every patient's visit by performing a comprehensive nursing assessment. This includes vital signs, current medications, and an evaluation focused on the patient's chief complaint and new or worsening symptoms. Following the nursing assessment, the nurse and the doctor discuss the patient's current issues. This allows the doctor to spend more time focusing on the patient's most important needs. The nurse is also present at the time of the neurological exam as this provides for continuity of care.
Our nursing staff is expertly trained and updated at least annually on all injectable medications prescribed for MS. If a self-injectable medication is prescribed by your physician, a one-on-one training session will be provided to the patient and caregiver(s) involved in administering the medication.
All trainings take place in our Patient Education Suite which helps eliminate interruptions and allows for focused teaching time. Although most trainings can be accomplished within 1-1 1/2 hours, there is no time limit for training sessions. We recognize that each patient comes to us with unique needs and must learn at his or her own pace. In addition, we strive to provide sufficient time to answer any questions as they arise during the training session. Our goal is for the patient to feel comfortable with taking their medication prior to leaving the Center.
During the training session, nurses will instruct the patient on all aspects of their prescribed medication including mechanism of action, side effects and proper location of injection sites. If appropriate, use of an automatic injection device is also reviewed. The nurse will demonstrate step-by-step how to properly set up and administer the medication using both verbal instruction and hands-on practice with a replica of an injection site. Patients and family are strongly encouraged to practice administration of their medication on this replica with saline injections at this time.
Most injectable medications must be started at low doses and gradually increased over time. This is called titration. As part of the injection training, the nurse will inform the patient of how to properly titrate medication. The patient and nursing staff remain in close contact on a weekly basis to discuss when to increase the dose of medicine, any side effects, and answer any questions that may arise. This will continue until the patient is comfortable administering their medication and is on a full dose without any difficulty.
Most patients are able to learn quickly in this atmosphere and refresher trainings are always available by appointment.
Some oral medications also need to be increased slowly. Should a patient be prescribed one of these medications, our nursing staff is well versed on proper titration. Through our daily phone line, we are available to help determine proper and safe medication increases. As always, any side effects of medications or questions that may arise can also be discussed at this time.
If our patients have to be hospitalized at Roosevelt Hospital across the street from the IMSMP, a nurse will visit them daily to assess up-to-the-moment issues, be a comforting presence, and consult with doctors and social workers on treatment and discharge plans.
In extreme situations, our nurses go above and beyond their call of duty to visit homebound patients. They also visit our patients receiving rehabilitation at our affiliate, in Rocland County.
Nurses at the IMSMP work closely with our on-site research laboratory on the Tisch MS Research Center of New York's own studies. They also participate as sub-investigators and coordinators in numerous clinical trials for MS treatments involving our patients.
Requests for letters are called into the prescription line. Please allow one week for the letter to be completed. Letters written may include equipment requests, missed work notes, traveling with injectable medications, jury duty and diagnosis confirmation, to name a few. Specially trained nurses also interact closely with our patients' insurance providers to have procedures and medications authorized and/or appealed as needed.