Shadowing a Doctor

April 22, 2015

Essential Skills and Qualities of Burn Care Nurses

This very emotionally intense specialty is not for everyone. You need to have the physical, mental and emotional strength to become a burn care nurse.

Some of the desirable skills and qualities in a burn care nurse include:

  • Compassion, empathy and ability to connect with the patient and family;
  • Patience;
  • Strong communication skills;
  • Excellent assessment skills;
  • The ability to think critically and make quick decisions;
  • Advanced knowledge of fluids/electrolytes;
  • Knowledge of different pain control techniques;
  • Detail-oriented, particularly in making sure patients get appropriate treatments;

The Challenging Aspects Of Working As a Burn Care Nurse

There’s no doubt that the work of a burn nurse can be physically and emotionally demanding. Witnessing big burns and catastrophic injuries, changing dressings and performing other painful procedures can be challenging. In most instances, the physical condition of patients who have experienced severe burns can be horrific. Intense pain, disfigurement, multiple skin grafts and plastic surgery can make the recovery process a great challenge for the patient. Burn care nurses need to show tremendous empathy, patience and fortitude as they help and guide patients through the entire process.

A burn nurse’s responsibilities go beyond just alleviating the pain or physical symptoms. Burn injuries are incredibly life altering as patients experience scars on the inside as well as on the outside. Many burn injury patients see a reflection in the mirror that does not conform to the image that they hold of themselves and this is not an easy experience to accept or recover from. Dealing with the psychological effects of burn injuries is a major factor requiring compassion and a proper understanding of post-traumatic stress. Part of a burn care nurse’s job involves providing crucial psychosocial support for patients and their families as they go through this emotional rollercoaster ride.

In some instances, patient burns may be so severe that end of life treatment is another challenge that you will have to contend with.

The Many Rewarding Aspects Of Working As A Burn Care Nurse

Despite all of the challenges associated with this specialty, this is a field that can be immensely rewarding as you will be helping patients to recover from some of the most awful and painful predicaments.

Gathered round observing a surgical procedure For most nurses who work in burn care units, the greatest reward comes from seeing their patients getting better and in much less pain than when they came in.

While money and job potential are not strong influencing factors for those who choose to work in this specialty, it’s nice to know that there is huge demand for burn nurses and you can expect to get paid an above-average salary in this field.

Click here to read the first part of ‘Do you have what it takes to be a burn case nurse’

Gap Medics provides year-round hospital work experience for people aged 16 and over. Our shadowing placements offer a unique insight into the work of doctors, nurses, midwives and dentists – helping students to focus their career aspirations before embarking upon medical training. 

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