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Guide to Neuro Care: Introductory Topics

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Neonatal providers caring for infants in Level I and II nurseries must be able to recognize and appropriately manage infants with neurologic system dysfunction as well as those at risk for neurologic injury. Nurses must be able to identify findings suggesting poor transition and/or neurologic impairment and intervene quickly and appropriately. Those infants with complex neurologic care needs may necessitate timely transfer to a level III or IV facility. It is important for nurses to identify infants who can potentially benefit from specialized neurocritical care in a timely and effective manner.


  • Describe the embryology and development of the neurologic system
  • Identify perinatal and neonatal risks for altered neurologic development and/or behavior in the newborn
  • Perform a comprehensive neonatal neurologic assessment
  • Distinguish normal from abnormal findings related to the neurologic exam of the newborn
  • Discuss pathophysiology and clinical presentation of select neurologic conditions/disorders including
    • Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy
    • Intra/Extracranial Hemorrhage
    • Seizures
  • Identify steps in appropriate and timely assessment, stabilization and referral of the infant with or at-risk for neurologic injury or dysfunction, including
    • Indications for therapeutic hypothermia
    • Management of suspected seizures

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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