Amy Perrin Ross Outlines the Role of MS Nurses in Diagnosis and Care Management

September 14, 2020

Nurses often get involved with patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) before their diagnosis and then work to educate them on the disease and its care, said Amy Perrin Ross, APN, MSN, CNRN, MSCN, Neuroscience Program Coordinator at Loyola University Medical Center.

Nurses often get involved with patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) before their diagnosis and then work to educate them on the disease and its care, said Amy Perrin Ross, APN, MSN, CNRN, MSCN, Neuroscience Program Coordinator at Loyola University Medical Center.

Transcript

How do MS nurses fit into the overall care team and when do they get introduced into a patient’s MS management after diagnosis?

One of the diagrams that we'll be showing in the presentation shows a large Starburst with the patient in the center of the starburst and each of the different prongs, representing many of the members of the care team. The MS nurse is one of those members.

And interesting you asked about out how to nurses get introduced to the management after diagnosis, and in fact many of us are involved well before the diagnosis. Nurse practitioners and advanced practice providers are people that may be seeing a patient to rule out a diagnosis or rule in the diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. And it may be the nurse practitioner or advanced practice provider who is really working the patient up and talking to them about the diagnosis of MS. So, we're often very much involved from the beginning.

If we have physician collaborators, and there are general MS nurses who are not necessarily advanced practice providers, they can get involved in a number of ways. I know I always like to introduce myself to the patients early on. Certainly, while they're being worked up by the neurologist while tests are being recommended for them. I try to talk to them about what the tests are. For example, a lumbar puncture: Why would we want to do that? What are we looking for? Talk about what we're looking for in the cerebral spinal fluid, and what some of those diagnostic markers may or may not mean.

Also talk to them about MRIs. Now a lot of people are very familiar with MRI and some people are scared of MRIs and a fear of claustrophobia and things. But I talked to them about specifically what we're looking for in an MRI, why we may want to image the cervical spine and perhaps the thoracic spine, as well. And just talk to them about some of the other blood tests that we might be doing looking to rule out other autoimmune diseases that may be mimicking MS. So, I sort of tried to set the stage there.