Knowing what each area of the brain is responsible for can enable you to anticipate deficits. This is crucial, as you will know what kind of deficits are expected, and if the unexpected occurs.
If a patient has an ischemic stroke in the cerebellum, under the occipital lobe, we can expect deficits in relation to balance and coordination. Patients may exhibit ataxia (lack of coordination of movement) or dysmetria (overshooting or undershooting an intended point) and that wouldn't be surprising to see.
If a patient has a lesion in the frontal lobe, we could expect to see speech difficulties like receptive, expressive, or global aphasia.
This is also handy when speaking with physicians. If your patient with a stroke in the temporal lobe isn't on an antiepilpetic, this enables you to have an educated discussion with him or her about the need for prophylactic antiepiletpics because of the increased likelihood of seizures.
Patients and loved ones will also feel some reassurance knowing what kind of deficits to anticipate. It can take away a little bit of the sting of a neuro change when they're aware that us, as the healthcare team, are not concerned when see deficits consistent with the location of the injury.
Patient's wife: "I am just so shocked how different he is acting now. Before, you would never hear him curse or be mean and I just can't believe what's coming out of his mouth."
Awesome neuro nurse: "The area of the brain that is responsible for judgement and personality is where your husband's stroke occurred. So, when we see an injury there, it's not surprising to see those kinds of changes. While it can be pretty upsetting or frustrating, know that it's not a sign to us that things are worsening, rather it's somewhat expected."
Pro tip: This information is challenging to recall in the midst of a busy shift. Create a small badge insert with a brief description of function of each lobe for quick reference.