Do you remember what you were taught about wound care in nursing school? Many of you may vaguely recall a lecture about the skin as an organ system, the layers of the skin and the function in regulating temperature and protecting us from infection. As far as wound care itself, I remember learning about clean versus sterile technique. I was taught nothing about how to choose the right dressing for a specific type of wound, let alone how to differentiate between a venous or an arterial ulcer. So how does one move from basic wound care to advanced techniques?
Obviously, we can’t depend on our basic education to bridge this gap. Many professionals have been forced by circumstances to learn about wound care “on the fly”, so to speak. Perhaps you went to work in home care, where knowledge of wound care is necessary and expected. You may have identified a need on your unit for a wound care specialist and volunteered to become your unit’s go-to person. Or maybe you feel an innate sense of satisfaction in watching a large and complex wound shrink in size until is completely healed, leaving behind only fragile scar tissue to remind the patient that it was once there. Regardless of how you were introduced to wound care, you likely quickly recognized that you needed to learn far more than the principles of basic wound care.
In today’s world, basic wound care knowledge is not enough. Patients are living longer, often with multiple chronic conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and venous and arterial diseases. Obesity has become a major health concern, putting more people at risk for developing wounds. In addition, nurses and other health professionals involved in wound care are being held accountable for how they manage their patients’ wounds.
All of these factors mean that health care professionals caring for patients with wounds must ensure that they are capable of caring for different types of wounds for patients with a wide variety of acute and chronic health problems, according to current best practices.
Some Ideas That Can Help You Move Beyond Basic Wound Care
- Attend lectures, seminars or courses on advanced wound care
- Subscribe to wound care magazines, journals, or online wound care blogs
- Connect with other wound care professionals using social media
- Connect with colleagues who have advanced wound care knowledge and ask them to mentor you
- Become a certified wound care specialist
If you are interested in learning more about wound care certification, visit us at WoundEducators.com. We would love to help you become the wound care professional you want and need to be.