The nursing team at Pate Rehabilitation is dedicated to providing excellence in patient care. They work with patients from the time of admission through the time they discharge from Pate. In addition to patient evaluation and treatment, the nursing team provides education and support to patients and their families, and is highly involved in training for the staff who care for patients in the residences.
Nurses are part of the multidisciplinary team which provides evidence-based treatment and care for the individual needs and goals of each person, and are devoted to helping all patients achieve their goals, one step at a time. We’re grateful and wanted to share their stories with you.
Meet members of the nursing team
Natalie Ward, RN, BSN, CRRN, CBIS, Director of Nursing for the Dallas, Anna and Fort Worth locations
Natalie has been a Registered Nurse since 2002. Natalie joined the Pate team in 2008 as the Nurse Educator/Nurse Manager. In 2011, she became the Director of Nursing. Natalie obtained an Associate of Arts degree from Kilgore College and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler. Natalie is certified as a Brain Injury Specialist and is a Certified Rehabilitation Registered Nurse.
“Watching patients improve and be able get back to their lives is very encouraging and inspiring. I truly enjoy working with my coworkers every day, as well. Pate has the greatest group of kind and caring people.”
Melody Dodson, RN, CCM, CBIS, EAGALA Certified Team Leader, Anna, TX
Melody joined the Pate team in 2009. She received her Associate of Science in Nursing from Lake Michigan College in 1988. She became a Certified Case Manager over 10 years ago and received her certification as a Brain Injury Specialist in 2011 (CBIS). In 2012, Melody became certified as an Equine Specialist through the Equine Assisted Growth and Learning Association.
“I believe in looking beyond the surface and making every effort to meet all of our patients’ needs. I have seen one miracle after another since I came to Pate, and I am looking forward to seeing many more. I count it a blessing to be a part of a team that has the opportunity to help people.”
Melodee Chandler, Medication Coordinator, Anna, TX
Melodee started at Pate as a rehabilitation technician almost eight years ago and moved into the nursing department as the Medication Coordinator in 2008. Melodee is now the manager of one of our supported living residences.
“I truly love getting up and coming to work every day. It is very rewarding to see the patients come in and know that you have helped them get better in some way.”
The goal of brain injury rehabilitation nursing is to maximize the patients’ ability to return to their homes and communities to live as independently as possible. Nursing plays an integral role in helping the patient become more independent.
The brain injury rehabilitation nursing staff at Pate is an important part of the interdisciplinary team. Nursing care for patients entering a brain rehabilitation program has a unique level of complexity due to the wide-ranging effects of acquired brain injuries. Each Pate treatment center has a full-time registered nurse on site and every inpatient residence has a nurse on call 24 hours a day.
At admission, the brain injury rehabilitation nursing staff will evaluate the patient medically and help determine the patient’s health goals. These goals are developed in consultation with the patient and family, taking into consideration the type and severity of the brain injury, educational needs of the patient and or family, co-morbidities (pre-existing conditions), real and perceived health risks of the patient and the patient’s level of independence.
Throughout the individual’s time in rehabilitation, the nursing staff tracks patient symptoms. Each brain injury is unique. Some patients are unable to communicate, others may retain cognitive skills but lose some physical capacity, while others may display normal physical attributes but experience diminished perception, memory and reasoning skills. Acquired brain injuries also often affect a patient’s personality and behavior, causing him to be depressed, combative, hyperemotional or overanxious. Pate’s nursing team is an essential part of rehabilitation, on the front lines of care, making sure the patient is medically stable.
Nursing Provides Education Along with Care
The goal of rehabilitation is to help people achieve their highest level of independence possible. Living independently means that the patient and/or family must be able to manage medications and health needs. While in treatment, Pate nurses teach patients how to manage their medications and educate them on their disease process.
For example, if a patient admits with stroke due to high blood pressure, nursing teaches the patient the range for normal blood pressure, how to check his own blood pressure, signs and symptoms of stroke, what to do if he experiences symptoms of stroke, when to call the doctor and how to report symptoms.
Another example is a patient with incontinence. Nurses often work with the interdisciplinary therapy team on a bowel and bladder program designed to minimize or eliminate episodes of incontinence. This is extremely important because it helps patients feel more confident when they are out in the real world.
Nurses continue patient and family education throughout the discharge process as well. They go over medications with patients and families and continue teaching them what they are taking, why they are taking medications, when to take medications and how to re-order medications. Prior to discharge, nursing encourages the patient to get established with a primary care physician so that there will be continuation of care.
Nursing and the interdisciplinary team at Pate strive to empower patients and families to care for themselves!