The image of nursing has come a long way from Florence Nightingale. Traditionally and generically, nurses have more than often been regarded as the healers of the medical world – healing patients with comforting words, tending their wounds, and dressings. The nursing profession is now no longer just a “calling” but offers a more professional platform for the nursing professional. It offers them a multitude of avenues and specialization, and thus nursing is no longer thought of having just a good bedside manner and compassion.
The National Nurses Week is celebrated from May 6-12 annually to regard some of the great sacrifices and care provided to the patients across the state.
Nursing spans across from the basic cleaning of the wound to critical care, and across a range of settings from the small clinic and hospitals to the battlefields; and in today’s more technologically advanced world of wound care from gene therapy to gauze, it is but the nurse
Who principally cares for the patients with wounds?
Wound healing encompasses dressings and infection control & the promotion of therapeutic nutrition, mobility, psychosocial support, hygiene, and comfort. This entire gamut of wound healing is under the practice of a nurse, albeit a certified wound care specialist who goes through a rigorous nursing curriculum and countless hours of specialized training, to address not just the clinical needs but also the patients’ physiological needs.
In 1968, the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN) Society was formed and today after nearly 50 years is regarded as the oldest wound care society, and its WOCN Board certification is considered the gold standard for wound nursing, having certified over 6,100 nurses worldwide. It began with a mission to promote educational, clinical, and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wound, ostomy, and continence issues.
Today, the WOCN Board certification is offered at two levels: basic/baccalaureate level and advanced practice/master’s level. Tri-specialty or individual specialty in the wound and/or related fields of continence and ostomy care are also offered.
Importance of Wound care
Wound care as a specialty is thus increasing in importance as more and more Americans suffer from complex conditions that can lead to chronic and hard-to-heal wounds.
Studies have shown that a rough population prevalence rate for chronic non-healing wounds in the United States is 2percent of the general population. Although the prevalence rate of chronic wounds is regarded as similar to that of heart failure, research has put forth a conservative estimate of the staggering cost of caring for these wounds which are said to exceed $50 billion per year, said to be 10 times more than the annual budget of the World Health Organization. According to the AAWC fact sheet (May 2014), 4.8 million Americans are stated to have a skin wound or ulcer that would need to be treated.
Three key patient groups that are growing and will need wound care services: diabetes patients, the elderly, and the bariatric population. Wound care patients need wound care equipment and supplies throughout their care, which can last for a long time.
And, the three key categories a wound care provider can offer are dressings and bandages, therapeutic support surfaces, and negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT). These offer points of specialization, along with a wide range of items that support a very broad wound care business.
What does Wound care Nursing Involve?
Wound care nursing is an especially fulfilling practice because as a nurse you actually help the body heal. Wound care nurses require a lot of patience, respect for the patient, and ambition to stay up-to-date on current procedures and techniques. Besides, they work not just with the patient but with the family by educating and providing care instructions for patients and families. Chronic wounds need continual care and nurses who specialize in wound care need to be particularly vigilant in order to prevent any complications like infection.
Opportunities for Wound care Nurses
Given the categories of patient groups that need wound care nursing and the specialties within wound care itself, the opportunity is broad. With the right level of commitment, and passion wound care nurses can establish themselves as an expert resource in the healthcare marketplace. The median salary of a wound care nurse is $64,076 with a range of $41,701 – $83,160. An entry-level Wound Care Nurse with less than 5 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $57,000 based on 267 salaries provided by anonymous users.
The average total compensation includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay. A Wound Care Nurse with mid-career experience which includes employees with 5 to 10 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $61,000 based on 162 salaries. An experienced Wound Care Nurse which includes employees with 10 to 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $63,000 based on 118 salaries.
A Wound Care Nurse with late-career experience which includes employees with greater than 20 years of experience can expect to earn an average total compensation of $64,000 based on 60 salaries.
The Roles and Duties of a Wound Care Nurse
- Evaluate and observe wounds
- Debride, clean, and bandage wounds
- Understand and determine the treatment required
- May involve specializing in certain wound types like foot ulcers etc
- Work with patients and caregivers to monitor wounds
- Prepares proper documentation for Medicare reimbursement and write orders to promote wound healing and the prevention of skin breakdown
Thus, the employment outlook for a wound care nurse is very good. Given the aging population and changing lifestyle, the demand for wound care nurses in a variety of settings from acute care in hospitals to nursing home care will always be on the up and up. It offers stability, is a fairly independent specialty, and offers flexibility in the area of nursing.
So if one has a bit of compassion and the need to heal others, then one doesn’t need to be a physician. Being a wound care nurse can bring a lot of fulfillment to your life just by easing your patient’s pain and providing relief. Yes, you do need a strong heart and nerves of steel when cleaning wounds. But to provide relief and ease the pain at the end of the day, make one sleep knowing that your patient will rest easy in the days to come!