Working with your MS nurse

Learn about the role MS nurses play in your healthcare team

Living with multiple sclerosis (MS) requires complete care from a dedicated healthcare team. MS nurses are a key part of this team. They can provide you with knowledge, strength, and hope on your journey with MS.

MS nurses can become an MS Certified Nurse (MSCN). They must spend a certain number of hours in direct MS care, pass an exam, and continue their education in MS care.

Living with MS can be scary because it’s unpredictable. Sharing your journey with an MS nurse may help address anxiety as you work together to:

  • Create goals
  • Discuss expectations of treatment
  • Learn what you may experience during periods of relapse, remission, or progression
  • Create a plan to help improve your health and wellness

Roles of your MS nurse

MS nurses have many roles, which may vary based on the individual. They can provide a broad perspective on treating and living with MS. Here are some potential ways they may help:


  • Listen to your concerns
  • Review your physical, mental, and functional needs
  • Provide scales or perform exams to look for changes in your MS symptoms or disease
  • Suggest ways to manage your symptoms. This might include physical, occupational, or speech therapy. Your nurse may also work with your doctor to adjust your relapsing MS treatment
  • Review tests and speak with your doctors about the results
  • Refer you to other specialists in your care team. This might include a urologist, psychiatrist, psychologist, or ophthalmologist
  • Talk to you about changes in your MS. This might mean changing treatment due to relapses or MRI changes
    • Nurse Practitioners may prescribe relapsing MS treatment. Remember to discuss any medication changes with key members of your healthcare team
    • Your MS nurse will always discuss changes in your health with your doctor. He or she may suggest an office appointment


  • Teach you the basics of MS. How might this disease present itself? What are the different types?
  • Offer information about MS symptoms and treatments. This could include medications, rehabilitation, and complementary therapies
  • Review available treatments with you. How do they work? What might you expect?
  • Give injection training, check your injection sites, and provide helpful hints on technique (if applicable)
  • Stress the importance of nutrition and exercise
  • Give talks to help you navigate the twists and turns of living with MS 


  • Help you cope with MS and set realistic goals so you can live your best life with MS
  • Encourage you to take part in community events. This might include support groups, MS walks or rides, and educational programs
  • Get to know your support network
  • Help you find MS resources
  • Encourage you to have a healthy lifestyle. Nutrition, exercise, and physical and mental well-being are key

Tips for talking to your MS nurse

Consider sharing your goals, fears, beliefs, and financial needs with your MS nurse. This can help your MS nurse create the best plan for you.

  • Be honest about your symptoms and feelings. Open communication lets your MS nurse know what’s going on so he or she can partner with you
  • Come to your appointments with a list of 3 to 5 questions. This amount allows you to not only learn, but also maximize your time with your doctor

Be open to suggestions. Always speak up if part of your plan is not working for you.



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