The Stroke Care Champions and Unsung Heroes in the World of Stroke Survivors
Stroke coordinators are instrumental to patient outcomes and to the success of a stroke program. Passionate about helping patients and their families, stroke coordinators lead their team to ensure the best treatment and outcome for a stroke victim. Here, stroke coordinators from top programs in Silicon Valley share their experiences in the continuum of care.
Gennette Olalia, RN, BSN, CEN, CPEN
Gennette understands the challenges in caring for a family member with paralysis from stroke. It inspired her to help Stanford decrease door-to-CT time for walk-in patients presenting with stroke symptoms. Ultimately, process improvements significantly decreased door-to-tPA time for improved outcomes.
Joy Ryan, BSN, RN, Stroke Program Coordinator
“Everything neuro” fascinated Joy in nursing school. Three decades later, she remains intrigued with the brain’s complexity. She enjoys taking a patient and family through the hyper acute phase of stroke, partnering with them in the life-regaining process of rehabilitation.
Kiely Schmidt, PT, DPT, NCS, Senior Physical Therapist
Kiely’s experience as a former NCAA Division I athlete influences her patient care. As a Board Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist, she strives to help patients achieve their goals, whether it’s regaining the ability to walk or hold their grandchild.
Ana (Isa) San Pedro, RN, Nurse Coordinator
Ana’s father suffered from strokes. It’s what helps motivate her work as a link between patient and healthcare provider. Ana encourages patients to surround themselves with loved ones to remind them that they are more than their stroke diagnosis.
Eric Bernier, MSN, RN, Stroke Program Manager
With his extensive and well-rounded background in patient care, including ICU, Eric knows how deeply nursing expertise impacts patients’ lives. He has been involved in stroke programs as a quality manager, consultant and data analyst, staff RN, and nurse manager.
Quyen brings personal experience to her role as stroke coordinator. Her sister-in-law had a hemorrhagic stroke due to a ruptured aneurysm at age 46. The stroke team took wonderful care of her and today she is back to her active lifestyle. Quyen wants to make a difference in cases such as hers. As a stroke coordinator, she is “able to be a part of that endeavor.”
With stroke care being so multifaceted and multi-departmental, Quyen says the most difficult part of the job is coordinating all the moving parts, though it’s clearly worth it. Quyen appreciates the privilege of seeing patients on their worst day and then watching them progress and recover, knowing that her clinical team was a reason for that success.
One of Quyen’s most memorable cases was a businessman visiting the Bay Area as a conference speaker. John had the classic symptoms of stroke: weakness, facial droop, slurred speech. He received tPA within 35 minutes of arriving to the hospital and about an hour later, he was able to speak more fluently and no longer had weakness on his left side. Shortly after, John returned to work giving educational lectures.