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A Comprehensive Review of Spinal Cord Injury

Acquire an in-depth understanding of the anatomy of a spinal cord injury and the systemic, functional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments that occur as a result of that injury.

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About this Certificate Program

The effects of catastrophic spinal cord injuries affect millions of people every year. This certificate program provides a comprehensive review of the effects of a spinal cord injury on an individual. Participants will learn about the pathophysiology of a spinal cord injury and how this injury affects bodily systems, communication and psychosocial behavior, which should improve a clinician’s ability to customize interventions to address specific deficits. This certificate is provided through six courses. In the first course, learners are exposed to pathophysiology and mechanism of spinal cord injury. In course two, participants will learn how a spinal cord injury interfaces with every bodily system, especially the central nervous system. Course three focuses on strategies to address deficits in the cardiovascular system, respiratory function, skin, and nutrition. In course four, learners are exposed to interventions to bladder, bowel, and sexual dysfunction. Course five focuses on addressing functional abilities affected by a spinal cord injury. The certificate concludes course six, which addresses aging and the psychosocial changes seen in persons with a spinal cord injury.

Target Audience

This series is designed for nurses working in inpatient rehab, long-term care, skilled nursing facilities, outpatient, and home care.

Goals & Objectives

  • Explain common mechanisms of spinal cord injury and differentiate the pathophysiology behind them.
  • Articulate the deficits associated with the central nervous system based on level of injury.
  • Summarize the effects of spinal cord injury on the respiratory system based on level of injury.
  • Identify strategies used to promote bladder continence.
  • Differentiate changes seen in the musculoskeletal system that result from different level specific spinal cord injuries.
  • Examine the effects of aging on a person with a spinal cord injury.

What's Included in the Certificate Program

Courses
Accredited Online Courses*

10 hours of online video lectures and patient demonstrations.

Courses
Interactive Learning Assessments

Case-based quizzes to evaluate and improve clinical reasoning.

Patient Education
HEP and Patient Education

HEP and patient education resources to use with your patients.

Section 1: Evaluation and Prognosis

1 Chapters

SCI: Pathophysiology, Management, & Assessmentkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Epidemiology and Incidence of SCIChapter 1

    This chapter will provide an orientation to spinal cord anatomy and discuss the epidemiology and demographics of spinal cord injuries. Understanding the anatomy and function of the spine and spinal cord will help rehabilitation nurses understand the changes caused by a spinal cord injury. The nurses can use this information to help educate patients and families on the significance of spinal cord injuries on the individual and society.

  • Etiology of Spinal Cord InjuriesChapter 2

    This chapter will review the mechanisms that lead to spinal cord damage and review the physical and chemical changes that lead to permanent and irreparable damage to the spinal cord. Rehabilitation nurses need to understand how the spinal cord injured person’s functional and rehabilitation potential is linked to this etiology.

  • Initial Management of Spinal Cord InjuryChapter 3

    Most people understand the terms tetraplegia and paraplegia, but are unaware of all the subtleties that contribute to the diagnosis. Understanding the terminology that explains the damage to the spinal cord will help the rehabilitation nurse identify the injured person’s deficits and assists in predicting functional recovery and rehabilitation.

  • Differentiating Spinal Cord InjuriesChapter 4

    A number of spinal cord syndromes associated with a traumatic spinal cord injury have specific sensory or motor characteristics. This chapter describes the differentiating features of each of these syndromes so that rehabilitation nurses can craft specific nursing interventions to address these deficits.

  • Spinal Cord SyndromesChapter 5

    The clinical course of an acute spinal cord injury is complex and fraught with challenges. One key focus of this period is to prevent additional damage to the spinal cord by stabilizing the spine through surgical or non-surgical methods. Rehabilitation nurses must understand the rationale behind the fixation method chosen to provide appropriate nursing measures in caring for these individuals.

  • Assessment ToolsChapter 6

    Assessment instruments are used throughout the continuum of spinal cord injury recovery. These tools provide an objective scale to assist caregivers in diagnosing the extent of the spinal cord damage and assist in identifying improvements in function. Rehabilitation nurses should be familiar with these tools and understand when and how they should be used.

  • View full course details »

Section 2: Bodily Effects of Spinal Cord Injury

4 Chapters

SCI: Systemic, Neurological, & Cardiovascular Changeskeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Systemic Effects of SCIChapter 1

    Spinal cord injuries affect every system in the body. Some effects are obvious while others are not. Rehabilitation nurses should understand how these systemic changes affect the person in order to create a holistic plan of care geared toward promoting health and preventing complications.

  • Neurological ManifestationsChapter 2

    Spinal cord injuries involve a major insult to the nervous system. The chapter will review the neurologic changes that occur following a spinal cord injury, including those involving motor function and sensory changes. A working knowledge of these changes to the nervous system allows rehabilitation nurses to differentiate between normal and abnormal expected outcomes.

  • Central Nervous System (CNS) Complications Post SCIChapter 3

    A number of cardiovascular changes occur following a spinal cord injury that are of immediate concern, such as vasodilation and hypotension that can negatively affect the person’s ability sit upright. Other conditions, such as the high risk for blood clots or pulmonary emboli, can be life threatening if not prevented or identified early. Rehabilitation nurses are integral in identifying and treating cardiovascular symptoms.

  • Autonomic ChangesChapter 4

    The loss of normal sympathetic nervous system functioning has implications for blood pressure, heart rate, and temperature regulation. This autonomic dysfunction also puts some people at risk for a life-threatening condition called autonomic dysreflexia. Rehabilitation nurses are key to identifying risk factors and addressing these autonomic system changes that can negatively affect their patients.

  • View full course details »

SCI: Cardiac, Pulmonary, Integumentary, & Nutritionkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Cardiovascular ChangesChapter 1

    This chapter will discuss how spinal cord injury affects the cardiovascular system in particular.

  • Respiratory SystemChapter 2

    This chapter will discuss the respiratory system and how breathing works.

  • Integumentary SystemChapter 3

    Sensory deficits and circulatory changes profoundly affect the health of the integumentary system of the person with spinal cord injury and place them at high risk for pressure wounds. The rehabilitation nurse plays a very important role promoting skin health and avoiding pressure injuries through prevention, education, and treatment. This chapter reviews the risk factors brought on by the spinal cord injury that contribute to skin breakdown and addresses preventative measures that nurses should implement.

  • Nutritional ManifestationsChapter 4

    A number of metabolic changes occur as a result of the spinal cord injury that have implications for the person’s nutritional status. Rehabilitation nurses should partner with dieticians to ensure that patients have the adequate nutritional building blocks required to help the body heal and repair itself. Nursing interventions designed to prevent malnutrition and promote adequate intake will be reviewed in this chapter.

  • View full course details »

SCI: Bowel, Bladder, & Sexual Dysfunctionkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Gastrointestinal System Manifestations: Bowel DysfunctionChapter 1

    The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GI system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the ability to voluntarily control bowel emptying, placing the person at risk for incontinence or bowel obstruction. This chapter will discuss the expected changes caused by the spinal cord injury and how medical professionals will use this information to develop and implement bowel management strategies based on the person’s level of injury. Teaching persons with SCI to address and prevent complications is also discussed.

  • Genitourinary System Manifestations: Bladder DysfunctionChapter 2

    The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GU system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the ability to control bladder emptying, placing the person at risk for incontinence or retention. This chapter will discuss the expected changes caused by the spinal cord injury and how medical professionals will use this information to develop and implement bladder management strategies based on the person’s level of injury.

  • Promoting Bladder Health and Preventing ComplicationsChapter 3

    The spinal cord injury’s effect on the individual’s GU system will be dependent on the level and completeness of the injury, which will determine the appropriate bladder management technique. The inability to control bladder emptying places the person with a spinal cord injury at risk for potential complications, such as infections and retention. This chapter will review the medical professional’s role in providing education on potential urinary tract complications and discussing strategies to promote a healthy urinary system.

  • Genitourinary System Manifestations: Sexual DysfunctionChapter 4

    The spinal cord injury’s effect on an individual’s sexual function will depend on the level and completeness of the injury. This usually involves the loss of the ability to control the physical changes and loss of or changes in sensations that occur during sexual activity. This chapter will discuss these alterations caused by the spinal cord injury as well as strategies to overcome these barriers. Medical professionals perform an important role in educating and supporting persons with a spinal cord injury as they seek to regain their sexuality, and the interprofessional team must be current and comfortable to provide this information.

  • View full course details »

SCI: Musculoskeletal & Functional Changes, ADLs, & Mobilitykeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Musculoskeletal ManifestationsChapter 1

    After a spinal cord injury, one of the most important issues to address is spine stabilization and motor changes affecting muscle strength. Several other musculoskeletal concerns, such as spasticity, need to be addressed by the interprofessional team early to minimize problems later in life and improve functional outcomes. This chapter addresses the rehabilitation nurse’s role in the management of these musculoskeletal issues.

  • Neurological Levels and Functional PotentialChapter 2

    Clinicians familiar with spinal cord injuries use their knowledge of neurological levels to predict the person’s probable functional impairments. Rehabilitation nurses partner with other members of the interprofessional team to design a plan of care to address the impairments associated with that neurological level. This chapter reviews the associated deficits related to each neurological level of the spinal cord.

  • Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)Chapter 3

    Individuals with a spinal cord injury are likely to have some functional deficits related to self-care, especially those with damage to the cervical spine. The ability to perform self-care is an important quality of life indicator. Rehabilitation nurses partner with other members of the interprofessional team to design a plan of care to address these needs. This chapter addresses the rehabilitation nurse’s role in promoting independence in bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, and toileting.

  • MobilityChapter 4

    The degree to which a spinal cord injury affects a person’s mobility depends on the level and completeness of the insult. Rehabilitation nurses partner with other members of the interprofessional team to design a plan of care to address these needs. This chapter addresses the rehabilitation nurse’s role in promoting bed mobility, transfers, wheelchair mobility, and ambulation.

  • Assistive TechnologiesChapter 5

    Assistive technologies can improve the quality of life for some individuals with spinal cord injuries. These technologies range from devices that can assist a patient to ambulate to devices that can control the environment. This chapter explores the rehabilitation nurse’s role in promoting the use of these devices in collaboration with other disciplines within the interprofessional team.

  • View full course details »

Section 3: Adapting to Life with a Spinal Cord Injury

1 Chapters

SCI: Adjustment & Future Planningkeyboard_arrow_down

Course
  • Psychosocial EffectsChapter 1

    Recovering from a spinal cord injury is often an emotional rollercoaster. This chapter will explore the psychosocial and emotional hurdles that the individual faces as the realization of the extent of their injury is understood.

  • Family Roles and RelationshipsChapter 2

    Recovery from a spinal cord injury is a journey that is most successful with the support of family and friends. This support may come in the form of assisting with physical deficits or addressing emotional needs. This chapter will explore family involvement during the rehabilitation process, adjustment period, and planning for the future.

  • TransitionsChapter 3

    The recovery from a spinal cord injury can be long, challenging, and filled with hopes of functional recovery. This chapter will discuss the transitions of care facing the patient and family as the spinal cord injured person moves beyond the acute hospitalization phase into their new reality.

  • Community ReintegrationChapter 4

    The ultimate goal of rehabilitation is to integrate individuals back into the community to lead a productive and meaningful life. This chapter reviews how vocational, financial, and community resources promote community reintegration and assist the patient to move on with his/her life.

  • Aging with SCIChapter 5

    Due to advances in medicine, the life expectancy for someone with a spinal cord injury is slightly less than the average non-spinal-cord-injured adult. People are now living 30-plus years post injury, something unheard of in years past. The aging process brings additional medical and physical challenges that the individual needs to overcome. This chapter will address problems that result from the aging process.

  • View full course details »
Instructors
Anne Leclaire

RN, MSN, CRRN

CEU Approved

10 total hours* of accredited coursework.
MedBridge accredits each course individually so you can earn CEUs as you progress.

      Our clinic could not be happier with MedBridge.

Amy Lee, MPT, OCS
Physical Therapy Central

       MedBridge has allowed us to create a culture of learning that we were previously unable to attain with traditional coursework.

Zach Steele, PT, DPT, OCS
Outpatient Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Services

    MedBridge has created a cost-effective and quality platform that is the future of online education.

Grant R. Koster, PT, ATC, FACHE
Vice President of Clinical Operations, Athletico Physical Therapy

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I get CEU credit?
Each course is individually accredited. Please check each course for your state and discipline. You can receive CEU credit after each course is completed.

When do I get my certificate?
You will receive accredited certificates of completion for each course as you complete them. Once you have completed the entire Certificate Program you will receive your certificate for the program.

*Accreditation Hours
Each course is individually accredited and exact hours will vary by state and discipline. Check each course for specific accreditation for your license.

Do I have to complete the courses in order?
It is not required that you complete the courses in order. Each Certificate Program's content is built to be completed sequentially but it is not forced to be completed this way.

How long do I have access to the Certificate Program?
You will have access to this Certificate Program for as long as you are a subscriber. Your initial subscription will last for one year from the date you purchase.

Sample Certificate

Sample Certificate

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