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Susan Wilson, NP, is committed to spreading the latest stroke knowledge and resources to health care workers across the country. This dedication has earned her a 2014 Raise Award from the National Stroke Association.

Susan Wilson, NP

By Jamie Williams –

The Raise Awards honor those who work to raise awareness of stroke and stroke care. The awards are given in six different categories. Susan Wilson, Stroke Nurse Practitioner at the UNC Comprehensive Stroke Center and Clinical Associate Professor, UNC Department of Neurology, was named “Outstanding Individual.”

“I was just astounded when I got the call,” Wilson said. “They received nearly 500 nominations, so for me to be chosen is just incredible.”

Wilson received the award in recognition for the work she has done in developing Carolina Acute Stroke Training (CAST), a free online training program designed to increase health care workers’ knowledge of stroke care.

“I just wanted to develop something to educate nurses, no matter their background, and make sure that they have the most up-to-date information on caring for stroke patients. I’ve been awed by the response,” Wilson said.

The program, which is funded by the North Carolina Stroke Collaborative, has been accessed by more than 2,000 health care workers from 26 states.

David Huang, MD, PhD, Vascular Neurologist and Director, UNC Health Care Comprehensive Stroke Center, said a great sense of fairness guides all of Wilson’s work, including the development of CAST.

“She has a great desire to serve,” Huang said. “She wanted to create something that the average nurse could do. Nurses who are at smaller hospitals but want to improve their knowledge of stroke care can use this tool absolutely free. That’s a very big deal.”

That sense of service also guides her work in another of her major roles at the Comprehensive Stroke Center. Wilson serves as a point person for stroke patients and their families, helping them navigate the life-changing event. After patients are discharged, Wilson checks on them to see how they’re doing.

“Patients love it,” she said. “A lot of times, they are confused and don’t know exactly who to call, so we saw the need for this sort of follow up.”

Now, Wilson said, word has gotten out.

“I called one family and they picked up the phone and said ‘we’ve been expecting your call,’” Wilson said, laughing.

Huang said Wilson always approaches her work with patients in mind.

“She’s very down to Earth and always does her best to explain things to patients in a way that is easily understandable,” Huang said.

Wilson’s award and the CAST program just help to bring more national attention to the work being done at the UNC Comprehensive Stroke Center.

“Susan is such a strong representative for our program,” Huang said. “When nurses across the country complete the CAST program, they know it’s coming from UNC, which helps establish us as a leader and further our institution’s educational mission.”