New nurse practitioner focusing her work on patients with facial pain

Nurse Practitioner Seena George, MSN-FNP, recently moved to the Neurosurgery Department after spending five years in the U’s Neurology Department where she worked primarily with patients who had multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). “Before I became a nurse practitioner in 2014, I started working as an RN in areas such as trauma, neuro and surgical ICUs, long-term acute care, and telemetry,” she said. “Of all those experiences, neurology and neurosurgery were my favorites. I wanted to continue to work in those fields.”

George’s primary focus in the Neurosurgery Department is on the Facial Pain Clinic, working with a multidisciplinary team that includes neurosurgeons Andrew Grande, MD, and David Darrow, MD, MPH, and providers from Otolaryngology, Neurology, and Dentistry. “We treat patients with a mix of diagnoses that are very unique,” she said. “I’m enjoying the variety of experience.”

Rewarding area
Facial pain is a rewarding area in which to work, according to George. “We help patients who have failed all other treatments … they have seen numerous providers, but no one seems to be able to help them,” she said. “When they come to us, they get a clear diagnosis and are started on medications that can begin to help control their pain.”

Seena GeorgeWhile rewarding, the facial pain work can also be challenging. “It’s hard when you don’t have an immediate solution for a patient,” said George (pictured here). “They come to us hoping that their pain will be relieved; however, some of the patients’ cases are very complex and it takes a while. It can often be a long-term process rather than a quick fix.”

George enjoys the concept of the multidisciplinary facial pain clinic. “All these different specialists meet with the patients, which results in faster recommendations rather than having to meet individually with each physician,” she said. “That could take months.”

Seeing patients progress
George also supports Andrew Venteicher, MD, PhD, in the Skull Base Clinic, and sees post-operative patients of neurosurgeon Ramu Tummala, MD. She enjoys working with post-op patients who have had subdural hematomas or arachnoid hemorrhages. “I go through their hospital notes to understand how sick they were,” George said. “When I see them in the clinic, I realize how much progress they’ve made. It’s very exciting.”

A seasoned nursing professional, George earned her Master of Science in Nursing (Family Nurse Practitioner program) from the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth, MN. She completed her BS in Nursing with Honors at M. V. Shetty College of Nursing in Mangalore, India. She spent four years working as a staff nurse in India before coming to the United States where she was an RN at several institutions, including Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN. After earning her NP and before coming to the U of M, she worked for a year at St. Paul Radiology.

When George and her husband have some free time, they enjoy getting together with a close-knit group of friends. She is also passionate about gardening and singing. In addition, George has 18-year-old twins who are getting ready to go to college later this year. “I’m not looking forward to that at all,” she said.

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