It could be argued that the evolution of the specialty of neuroscience nursing at Barrow has paralleled and even in large part has helped to define the overall field. From the day the doors of this institution opened in 1962, Barrow nurses have been dedicated to the care of patients with some of the most challenging neurological diseases and disorders that clinicians can encounter. Their skill in caregiving has kept pace with the rapid technological advances associated with contemporary neurosurgery, neurology, neuroradiology, neuroimaging, and neuropharmacology. Yet, sophisticated technology is never allowed to substitute for compassionate caring. Barrow nurses have also held prominent leadership positions in organizations established to enhance the professionalism of their specialty. For example, as readers will learn in The History of Neuroscience Nursing: A Barrow Perspective by Virginia Prendergast, RN, NP-C, CNRN, three Barrow nurses have served as the President of the American Association of Neuroscience Nursing since it was founded in 1962. Barrow nurses have also been founding members of affiliated organizations such as the Neuroscience Nursing Foundation and the American Board of Neuroscience Nursing. Neuroscience nurses are the heart of Barrow, front-line advocates for patients, and respected colleagues. It is a pleasure to take this opportunity to acknowledge their labors, past and present, in our mutual goal to serve and improve the lives of patients with neurological maladies.
In this issue readers will also find a useful and well-illustrated review on techniques for harvesting bone grafts from the iliac crest, fibula, spinal processes, ribs, and calvaria for use in anterior and posterior approaches to spinal fusion. The harvest of autograft will remain the procedure of choice for many surgeons while we all await the time when genetically engineered materials replace the need for these additional invasive procedures. Rounding out this issue are several reports that capture some of the rich, varied, and provocative clinical cases cared for at Barrow: Listeria rhomboencephalitis in a patient with Crohn’s disease, a herniated lumbar disk sequestered between the internal and external dural sleeves, and the use of neuropsychological testing to help differentiate psychiatric-based memory complaints from neurologic-based problems in a young adult.
As the year closes, please accept my wishes for a healthy and prosperous New Year. For us, 2004 represents the 20th anniversary of the Barrow Quarterly. We will be starting the year with an issue devoted to hypothalamic hamartomas and their treatment to familiarize readers with the services offered by our new Hypothalamic Hamartoma Center. This issue should be a welcome resource for any practitioner who has ever been challenged by the care of a patient with this potentially devastating lesion. Please consider using the enclosed, self-addressed stamped envelope to share a contribution that will help us continue to provide all of our readers with this supplement to their ongoing education in the mysteries of the neurosciences.
Robert F. Spetzler, MD