Bartow Regional Medical Center’s First Stroke-Certified Nurse Shares Passion for Education

provided by BAYCARE

Bartow, Fla. – When it comes to stroke, Polk County is trending upward in unsettling statistics.

In 2022, the rate of county residents who suffered a stroke outpaced the statewide rate. The same was true of stroke deaths.

Steven Dewbrew is aware of those risks, and in his new role as Bartow Regional Medical Center’s first stroke-certified nurse, wants to make sure that residents are
aware as well, for the sake of their own health, and of their loved ones.

“We just want to make sure our community knows that time equals brain cells so they can get here as soon as possible,” he said.

Dewbrew joins 18 other nurses across BayCare who have stroke certification. Those who are certified must have a registered nurse license and have experience
treating stroke.

Dewbrew has that experience. After becoming a nurse, he started his career in home health before moving to a hospital setting. Before coming to Bartow, Steven was
based in Philadelphia, working with high-risk patients. When he started at BRMC in 2021, he was the assistant nurse manager of the Acute Care Unit (ACU), Progressive
Care Unit (PCU) and Post Surgical Unit. PCU is the unit that stroke patients get admitted to. He’s now an administrator on duty (AOD).

“The AOD has a big impact on the treatment of stroke patients,” he said. In addition to his experience, he also took various courses to sharpen his knowledge. In his new role, Dewbrew consults on stroke cases and helps the care team determine the best course of treatment for stroke patients. As he leans into his role, Dewbrew expects to take it outside the walls of the hospital.

“I’m very passionate about educating the community about the symptoms so they can seek care quickly. The best way to do that is to make sure they’re aware of the

Those symptoms include partial paralysis and worsening headaches. Educators like to use the acronym BEFAST as a shorthand to identify some signs of stroke: Balance (sudden loss of balance); Eyes (loss of vision in one or both eyes); Face (signs of drooping on one side); Arms (can the person lift their arm?); Speech (slurring speech) and Time.

“Every moment you’re having a stroke, your brain cells are losing oxygen and so you need to get to the emergency room as soon as you can,” Dewbrew noted.

“Unfortunately, a lot of the population doesn’t know the symptoms and by the time they get here, it can be too late to give them medication or remove the clot.”

Laura Moore, the Polk region’s nurse manager of stroke services, has been working with Steven through the certification process and is enthusiastic about how his role can help expand stroke care in Bartow.

“Obtaining this certification is a testament to Steven’s dedication to excellent patient care,” Moore said. “His passion for educating the community and supporting the clinical team is evident. We are blessed to have him and are excited to continue to expand this service in Bartow.”

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