The art and science of nursing relies on the coordinated expression of science and compassion to support the health and wellness of others. This is especially evident in the comprehensive and specialized knowledge of a wound care nurse.
A wound care specialist helps manage and prevent pressure injuries and wounds as a partner alongside physicians and advanced practice providers. As crucial members of an interdisciplinary team, wound care nurses have an integral role in supporting patient outcomes through their specialized treatment of acute and chronic wounds.
Of course, many nurses have knowledge of managing wounds, but those specializing in wound care take that skillset to the next level. In this post, we cover what wound care nurses do and how healthcare professionals can benefit from training to join their ranks.
Understand What Wound Care Nurses Do
A wound care nurse does far more than simply clean and properly dress wounds. Chronic wounds especially require effective treatment and monitoring that includes a multidimensional approach as many of these patients have significant underlying medical conditions or nutritional deficits.
In other words, wound care nurses are pros at looking at the whole picture. This includes mitigation and prevention, wound management, and supportive measures to preserve skin integrity and functionality after healing. In doing so, wound care specialists are prepared to attend to a spectrum of issues related to acute and chronic wounds, such as:
- Assessing for wound prevalence.
- Using standardized processes to assess patient risk.
- Implementing preventative measures to mitigate environmental factors to skin integrity.
- Staging and managing acute and chronic pressure injuries.
- Managing surgical wounds for optimal healing.
- Collaboration with medical providers in the use of healing therapies and treatments.
- Ostomy care and management.
- Peer and patient education on wound management.
Learn About Wound Care
The beneficial implications on morbidity and mortality associated with proper wound care are impressive. Even more impressive is the significance of the financial burden associated with wounds—it’s estimated that in the hospital setting alone more than 2.5 million patients experience a pressure injury adding up to more than 26 billion dollars worth of additional spending.
For these reasons, it’s very important for medical professionals with responsibilities in direct patient care to have at least a basic understanding of wound recognition and prevalence. Licensed Practical Nurses, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses may not have the specialization of a wound care nurse but they can use their knowledge and assessment skills to make a basic evaluation of a wound. From there they can collaborate with physicians or other advanced practice providers to treat them accordingly. Medical assistants as well are often in a prime position to notice the presence of potential wounds and escalate their concerns to those managing the patient’s care.
Medical professionals need training in order to become comfortable with the basics of wound identification, wound physiology, and risk factors associated with wounds. An introductory course that covers the basics of wound recognition and prevalence sets the foundation for valuable wound care knowledge and experience: a course like Wound Care 101 offered by #1 Premiere Continuing Education is a great place to start. The invaluable course covers the main etiologies of wound physiology, the prevalence of wounds in nursing practice, and the importance of basic wound identification.
Improve Lives with Continuing Education
As a healthcare professional, you assume the enormous responsibility of keeping up with the ever-evolving field of health care, and including wound care specialization in your healthcare repertoire makes a measurable difference in the lives of the patients in your care. Since acute and chronic wounds represent the potential for serious complications and a continuum of healing that needs to be properly supported, the primary duty of the wound care specialist is to improve patient outcomes related to wound care.
Of course, it’s also worth mentioning that there are professional development benefits associated with specialized knowledge of wound care. New opportunities and increased compensation can offer some nursing staff a more tangible return on their investment in their skills as they move forward in their careers. #1 Premiere Continuing Education delivers online introductory wound care training developed by a certified wound specialist to help nurses who want to improve their careers and go on to pursue a wound care certification.