Spotlight on: Stroke Coordinators - Crozer-Keystone Health System - PA

Spotlight on: Stroke Coordinators

Maureen DePrince, RN

Maureen DePrince, RN, stroke coordinator at Delaware County Memorial Hospital, decided to become a nurse 10 years ago after her husband was hospitalized several times. “I had always wanted to be a nurse, but I thought I was too sensitive to handle the emotional challenges involved in caring for the sick,” she recalls. “The hospital experiences with my husband showed me that I was stronger than I thought.”

In 1999, DePrince exchanged her career in travel and tourism for one in nursing, and she’s never looked back. After graduating at the top of her class from Delaware County Community College, she joined DCMH as a staff nurse in the Critical Care Unit. After working in the Cardiac Intensive Care, Telemetry and Progressive Care Units, she accepted a position in Penn Presbyterian Medical Center’s Thoracic ICU and Heart Failure Unit. “I wanted to acquire more experience in hemodynamic monitoring and caring for more complicated surgical patients to improve my knowledge base as a critical care nurse,” she explains. “The experience helped me to improve my assessment and clinical skills, but I always missed the people at DCMH and wanted to come back if the right opportunity came along.”

That opportunity came in 2007 when DCMH was gearing up to pursue certification as a Primary Stroke Center and needed a stroke coordinator. “I was thrilled to be offered the job and have the opportunity to develop a program from the ground up,” she relates. “Our multidisciplinary team has worked very hard to make this program a success.”

DePrince says her biggest reward is seeing stroke patients from the acute state in the Emergency Department through their rehabilitation on the Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit. “I have witnessed amazing recoveries,” she says. “As a nurse, that is the ultimate reward.”

Suzanne Jenkins, RN, BSN

Suzanne Jenkins, RN, BSN, has always been intrigued by evidence based medicine (EBM). As EBM project coordinator at Crozer-Chester Medical Center, she finds it rewarding to help clinicians adopt new best practices that will improve patient care. “Changing the way things are done can be challenging,” she reflects. “It’s easy for clinicians to say, ‘This is the way I’ve always done it and it works for me.’ But when they see that practices have been proven in scientific studies and validated in the literature, they are willing to embrace new ideas, and that’s very rewarding to me.”

Jenkins has coordinated EBM initiatives since the program was established at Crozer six years ago. “At that time, we were one of very few hospitals to have an EBM department and expert panels with a multidisciplinary approach to developing guidelines,” she notes. “Crozer was really at the forefront. In fact, when we shared a form that we developed as part of our deep vein thrombosis initiative with Medicare, they were so impressed that they asked our permission to post it on their web site.”

Over the years, Jenkins’ EBM work has focused on issues of particular concern to Crozer-Keystone Health System such as improving stroke care. After Crozer and Taylor Hospital decided to pursue certification as Primary Stroke Centers, Jenkins took on responsibility for coordinating the stroke programs for both hospitals.

“Bedside nurses and Emergency Department nurses have played a huge role in our certification efforts,” says Jenkins, who began her nursing career as a bedside nurse in a med./surg. unit at Crozer. She also served as a clinical coordinator, case manager and director of Admissions and Pre-Admission Testing before her appointment to her current post in 2003. “I’m proud to be part of such a great multidisciplinary team effort.”

Suzanne Jenkins, seated second from left, with members of
Crozer's Stroke Committee