May marks the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, a British nurse, social reformer, and statistician who became known as the founder of modern nursing (1). Worldwide healthcare professionals honor her by observing National Nurses Month in May. So, with the opportunity to recognize nurses' valuable contributions to healthcare delivery and research, this year, Moving Along is focusing on nurses' essential role in the Movement Disorders field.
Florence Nightingale dedicated her life to caring for the sick and vulnerable. Her legacy has inspired generations of nurses who prioritize patient care and put the well-being of others at the center of their practice.
In Movement Disorders, although Parkinson’s disease is the archetype of our diseases (2), nurses continue to embody this spirit of care, also providing specialized and holistic care to patients with conditions such as Huntington's disease (3), Ataxia (4), and Dystonia (5), among others.
The role of a movement disorders specialist nurse within an interprofessional team must be considered, as nurses provide a vital link between patients and other healthcare professionals, offering education, support, and advocacy throughout the disease's progression. They help patients understand their condition, including the symptoms and potential complications, and inform them about their treatment options, medication management, and lifestyle changes to improve their health and well-being.
In addition to patient education, nurses also support patients in managing their motor and non-motor symptoms, assisting with activities of daily living, and monitoring for potential complications such as falls, infections, and medication side effects. They are also crucial in assisting patients in coping with their illness's emotional and social effects. Movement disorder conditions can be challenging and isolating, and nurses can offer support and empathy to patients and their families (6).
Moreover, specialist movement disorder nurses work closely with other healthcare professionals, such as neurologists and physical therapists, to provide comprehensive, high-quality patient care. By seeing more patients with the consultant, they reduce the consultant's workload, decrease waiting lists, and ensure up-to-date, evidence-based practice. This approach enhances the service by reducing the number of complaints and waiting times for treatment (6).
In conclusion, nurses are vital in caring for patients with movement disorders. They provide specialized and evidence-based care that improves patients' lives, reduces caregiver burden, and promotes patient-centered care. This Nurses’ Month, let us celebrate the contributions of nurses in the movement disorders field and beyond and recognize the invaluable work they do every day to provide quality care and support to patients and their families.
1. Dossey BM. Florence Nightingale. Journal of Holistic Nursing. 2010 Mar 13;28(1):10–35.
2. Tosin MHS, Mecone CAC, Oliveira EFM, Tsui DS, Tan SB, Irene S, et al. Nursing and Parkinson’s Disease: A Scoping Review of Worldwide Studies. Clin Nurs Res [Internet]. 2022 Feb 6;31(2):230–8. Available from: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/10547738211044047
3. Bourke D, Finucane G, Dysart J, Roxburgh R. The Appointment of a Huntington’s Disease Nurse Specialist has Reduced Admission Rate and Improved Admission Quality. J Huntingtons Dis [Internet]. 2012;1(1):27–30. Available from: https://www.medra.org/servlet/aliasResolver?alias=iospress&doi=10.3233/JHD-2012-120003
4. Bozzetto Ambrosi C, Bozzetto Ambrosi P. Living and Coping with Spinocerebellar Ataxia: Palliative Care Approach. In: Spinocerebellar Ataxia - Concepts, Particularities and Generalities [Internet]. IntechOpen; 2022. Available from: https://www.intechopen.com/chapters/81767
5. Marianne King. Role of the specialist dystonia nurse. In: Warner TT, Bressman SB, editors. Clinical Diagnosis and Management of Dystonia. 1st ed. London: CRC Press; 2007. p. 8.
6. Connor KI, Cheng EM, Barry F, Siebens HC, Lee ML, Ganz DA, et al. Randomized trial of care management to improve Parkinson disease care quality. Neurology. 2019;92(16):E1831–42.