By PJ Papadakos, MD, FCCM, FAARC
Over the last decade, I have observed the rapid growth of our society as we have progressed into a worldwide professional organization advocating for state-of-the-art care of critically ill patients suffering from neurological conditions. This growth has led to the widespread availability of neuro- ICUs staffed by dedicated professionals in many communities. However, often rapid growth leads to confusion in the community regarding exactly what it is we do. How have we added to the care of patients, and what has the impact of providing this care delivered to our local communities? It is my opinion that each individual member is able to act as an advocate for our society and, more importantly, advocate how great an impact our patient care has in local communities and throughout the world.
How can we as individuals act as advocates for NCS? Many opportunities exist for advocating in both our facilities and our communities. Volunteer to give grand rounds at your facility, presenting what you do to other departments. This will not only orient other professional colleagues to the broad medical knowledge that you bring to the table, but also provide a tool to recruit residents and students to the field. Arrange with your hospital leadership and public relations department to give a mini ENLS course about the premier program of our society to board members and community leaders. This will garner awareness of the program and demonstrate how this will affect patient outcomes through standards such as the ACLS and ATLS. This mini ENLS experience may also be presented to your local media. It makes a great public relations story and gives wonderful exposure to your unit and facility.
Involvement in the education of EMS and first responders is another great way to advocate for our society and your facility. Educating pre-hospital staff about the importance of triaging patients to facilities with the resources of a neurocritical care unit raises the standard of patient care. Presentations to community organizations also elevates exposure of what we do. We are ideal speakers on the topics of stroke care, brain injury and spinal trauma. The public is always interested in these topics and is comforted that such resources are available locally.
We are experts in critical, neurological illness and should be at the forefront in the sponsorship of community activities, such as stroke and brain injury runs and golf outings. We should be educating parent groups on the importance of bike helmets and the scourge of distracted driving. This will greatly raise our exposure to the public and make us a valuable community resource.
In summary, the time is right that each unit should take on the role of advocate, resource and educator. Thorough local advocacy will add much to our specialty and garner professional fulfillment.#NCSRoundup #Advocacy #PJPapadakos #September2018