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Guide to Neuro Care: Advanced Topics

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Providers caring for infants in Level III and IV nurseries must accurately identify and manage care for infants with or at-risk for neurologic injury. Infants may be referred to the Level III and IV nursery when they need specialized care for neurologic injury, including possible surgery or other therapeutic interventions. Nurses must have a clear understanding of embryology and development of the neurologic system, neurologic pathology that can present in the neonatal period, clinical findings suggesting neurologic pathology and strategies to address and manage care for at-risk infants.


  • Describe the embryology and development of the neurologic system
  • Identify perinatal and neonatal risks for altered neurologic development and/or behavior in the newborn
  • Distinguish normal from abnormal findings related to the neurologic exam of the newborn
  • Perform a comprehensive neonatal neurologic assessment
  • Describe strategies used to support neurologic stabilization and ongoing assessment
    • Bedside monitoring tools (e.g. aEEG, videoEEG )
    • Imaging studies (e.g. MRI, CT and Ultrasound)
  • Discuss the etiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, and diagnostic evaluation of neonates with: 
    • Disorders of development
      • Spinal defects
      • Neurodevelopmental defects
      • Congenital Hydrocephalus
      • Anencephaly
    • Acquired disorders
      • Stroke
      • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
      • Seizure
      • Intra/Extracranial Hemorrhage
      • White Matter Injury
  • Describe pharmacologic strategies used in the prevention or management of neurologic injury
  • Identify strategies used to monitor outcomes of neurologic injury and therapeutic management

Topics (click to expand)


About the Contributor

Annette Carley, RN, DNP, NNP-BC, PPCNP-BC is certified as a neonatal and pediatric NP, and has over thirty years of clinical experience in neonatal and pediatric care. Since 1995 she has been affiliated with the School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco, and is the current Specialty Coordinator for the Advanced Practice Neonatal Program. Her work includes providing didactic teaching, clinical mentoring, and skill training for neonatal and pediatric advanced practice nursing students. Annette views herself as a neonatal generalist, with interest in many neonatal and pediatric health issues such as nutrition and growth, and pulmonary, gastrointestinal, hematologic and neurologic physiology and pathophysiology.


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