Stroke is a major cause of morbidity and mortality in the world. In the United States, it was estimated that approximately 750,000 patients had a stroke annually. Denmark, with a population of 5.5 million, had about 12,500 cases of hospitalizations from stroke in 2009. Despite the patient’s obvious need for complex nursing care and a common recognition of the nurse’s central role in rehabilitation after a stroke, a description of their specific contributions appeared sparse. Therefore, a literature review was conducted using the matrix method. The purpose was to explore the nursing roles and functions identified in empirical research and to discern any possible evolution in the nursing roles and functions during a span of years. The rehabilitation literature related to inpatient rehabilitation after stroke during the period from 1997 to 2010 was reviewed. The total number of identified citations was 1,529. After screening for relevancy, 134 eligible articles remained. Of these, 30 articles were extracted into a table and formed the basis for the conclusion. We found that four nursing roles and functions described in 1997 still accommodated central aspects of the current nursing practice but also emerging changes reflecting a development in the nurses’ responsibilities and contributions in conducting rehabilitation after a stroke. These changes seemed mainly to be shaped instigated by changes in the (1) patient role, (2) increasing interdisciplinary teamwork, and (3) focus on rehabilitation efforts conducted in the patient’s environment.
Sanne Angel, PhD RN, is an Associate Professor, Department of Nursing Science, Institute of Public Health, The Faculty of Health, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
Pia Dreyer, RN MScN PhD, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Department of Anaesthesiology and Intensive Care, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, and an Assistant Professor at the Institute of Public Health, Department of Nursing Science, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
Leanne Langhorn, RN CCRN MScN PhD, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Department of Neurosurgery, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.
Birgitte Blicher Pedersen, RN MSPH, is a Clinical Nurse Specialist at the Department of Neurology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark, and a PhD student at the Department of Nursing Science, Institute of Public Health, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.
Questions or comments about this article may be directed to Lena Aadal, RN MScN PhD, at email@example.com. She is Head of Clinical Nursing Research at the Hammel Neurorehabilitation and Research Center, Hammel, Denmark.
The authors declare no conflicts of interest.