Shadowing a DoctorFebruary 28, 2014
With the rise in numbers of patients with diabetes, obesity and obesity-related diseases, the need for wound–care nurses has grown phenomenally over the past few years. These diseases often result in slow-healing wounds that can consume a patient’s life for months or even years if left untreated.
Critical-thinking skills are important in wound-care nursing
Wound-care nursing demands a great deal of critical thinking. Before you can begin treatment, you have to be able to troubleshoot and determine the physiological reasons that caused the wound and the factors that are keeping the wound from healing. Once you have gotten to the root cause, you will then have to evaluate how an ever-increasing array of treatments might work with a particular patient.
Although wound–care specialists work autonomously most of the time, you have to be able to work closely with physicians and care teams to bounce ideas back and forth and develop an effective plan of care.
Staying up to date with cutting-edge therapies is crucial too
Wound care has advanced far beyond simply applying antiseptic ointments or changing dressings. Among the newer wound-care treatments are dressings that contain medical-grade honey as well as dressings that use ionic silver to accelerate wound healing.
Many hospitals are also beginning to employ hyperbaric therapy chambers to supply the tissues with pure oxygen so they can heal faster, particularly in patients who receive restricted oxygen supply.
Staying up to date with the latest wound care therapies is essential.
Certification from the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB) is highly valued in the field and also likely results in higher employability and higher wages. Nurses must have a bachelor’s degree before being eligible for certification by the WOCNCB.
Established in the late seventies, the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board is an international, professional nursing organisation certifying registered nurses who are specialists in the field of wound, continence, ostomy and foot care. WOCNCB has Board Certified nurses in several countries around the world including the United Kingdom.
Life as a wound-care nurse
For nurses who pursue this specialty, job satisfaction comes by way of managing to healing these wound successfully, improving the quality of life for the patient and their family. The specialty offers nurses a chance to get to know patients better over a period of time rather than providing initial treatment before sending them on to the next department for further healing.
However, the specialty can involve various unpleasant and painful procedures, such as patients coming in regularly to get dead or damaged skin removed, so it may not be the right choice for everybody.
According to more experienced professionals, wound care may not be the best choice for nurses fresh out of nursing school. It helps to have a few years of experience to develop the critical–thinking skills so necessary in this job.