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March 7, 2014/Nursing/Nurse Profile

Cleveland Clinic Nurse a Leader in MS Field

Marie Namey, MSN, RN, MSCN, has dedicated most of her nursing career to helping patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

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Marie Namey, MSN, RN, MSCN, has dedicated most of her nursing career to helping patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Namey, an advanced practice nurse, joined Cleveland Clinic nearly 29 years ago when it opened the Mellen Center for Multiple Sclerosis Treatment and Research. “The concept of having a center for comprehensive care for people with MS was really a draw,” she says.

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While others may find working with MS patients demanding, she stays in the field because researchers and physicians have made so many advances that bring more hope to patients each year. The dedicated nurse was one of the founding members of the International Organization of Multiple Sclerosis Nurses (IOMSN) in 1997. The IOMSN offers mentoring, education and networking to its 1,800 members. “Our mission is to educate nurses so they can provide the best care possible for people with MS and their families,” Namey says.

Other organizations are focused on multiple sclerosis, but the IOMSN is the only one committed to the needs of professional nurses. “I feel very strongly about the organization and what it does,” says Namey, who served as president of IOMSN from 2010-2012. “It’s so important to have an organization for nurses. We are the ones who spend a lot of time talking to patients about their concerns and weighing the risks and benefits of treatment options.”

During her presidency, Namey accomplished several goals. She spearheaded efforts to update the organization’s website, www.iomsn.org, to make it more user-friendly. And IOMSN added more regional programs to increase communication among its members. It also started monthly town hall meetings, where nurses can call in and listen to speakers and dialogue with other participants.

“Outreach programs such as the town hall meetings allow nurses in different parts of the world to connect with one another,” says Namey. This benefits both nurses and patients, she adds. For instance, when one of her patients moves she can recommend a medical facility and advanced practice nurse in the new location. “MS is a tough disease,” she says. “If people have a connection with another healthcare practitioner, they feel much more secure and confident.”

It’s all about networking, says Namey, who encourages nurses in all specialties to join and participate in their niche organizations. “Developing that network of colleagues in your specialty area is so important,” she says.

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