The Wound Care Nurse

One might think a nurse is automatically certified to treat all manner of diseases and illnesses. However, the modern Advanced Practice Nurse must be specially trained and certified in the realm of wound care. For more information on wound care certified nurses, read on.

The History of Wound Care

In the contemporary era of nursing care, wound care specialization began with Ignaz Philipp Semmelweiss, an obstetrician from Hungary. His work centered mostly on developing and maintaining sterile surgical procedures, something that was not considered all that important prior to him. Louis Pasteur was also an important player in the expansion and improvement of proper wound care. While he may be best known for creating the pasteurization process, he is also known as the “father of microbiology.” In fact, it was his germ theory of disease that led him to create the pasteurization process, which kills germs and bacteria in liquids through high heat without actually cooking the liquids. Joseph Lister elaborated on Semmelweiss’ work with sterilization of hospital implements and was able to lower his team’s mortality rate by an astounding 45%. Finally, Robert Wood Johnson, who helped found the company Johnson & Johnson, created pre-treated gauze and dressings that used iodine to prevent infection in patients.

These men were key characters in the advancement of wound care and without them, nurses today would still struggle with simply maintaining a sterile environment in which to work.

Modern Advancements in Wound Care

As medical technology advances, the science of wound care is likewise seeing progress and innovation. New materials created throughout the last century have had a massive effect on wound care. The invention of nylon in the 1950s meant that the healing process was made faster and more efficient.

Following more experimentation in the 1960s with different types of synthetic dressings, wound care saw its rebirth in the 1970s and 80s. Dressings saw deep scientific breakthroughs and further developments in tissue engineering have made healing difficult wounds possible.

Wound Care Nurse Certification

Becoming a certified wound care nurse is intense. Receiving such certification shows that a nurse is an expert in the field of wound care. Certification ensures that a nurse is highly qualified to treat complex and challenging wounds that patients may have.

However, this certification doesn’t imply that these nurses are suited only to wound care. Instead, this is a supplementary certification that says a nurse, along with his other skills, is now completely trained in the science of wound care and will be able to integrate these skills. In other words, the nurse is now part of an interdisciplinary conglomerate of nurses, doctors, and other healthcare professionals that dedicate much of their time to wound care.

Certification is important because it guarantees that the nurse is qualified to carry out certain procedures and that they will know the best way to start the healing process. Ensuring that there is at least one wound care certified nurse on staff will prevent the issue of having nurses who are not competent in this specific area from performing procedures they are unfamiliar with, thereby lessening the chance of legal issues or patient displeasure.

Wound Care Nurses as Healers

A good wound care nurse understands the history of wound care and keep up with further developments in the field. As such, they have a wealth of knowledge of different materials, equipment, and techniques that may be utilized to help patients. And because they are certified, their expertise is proven and can ensure better outcomes for patient health.

Wound care nurses are a versatile employee to have on staff. While many think of simple one-off issues that need healing, wound care nurses are able to work with a variety of patients for whom open wounds may be a side effect of a larger illness. Lymphedema, leg ulcers, even complications from diabetes can all be attended to by a nurse with wound care certification. These nurses will be able to multi-task with different patients’ needs much better than uncertified nurses and therefore make a valuable addition to any nursing staff.

Wound Care Nurses as Educators

Most patients will have questions about their specific situation and how best to go about it when they are released from the hospital. Wound care nurses are wonderful educators for both patients and their families since they have an immense store of knowledge regarding wounds. Because wounds are complicated injuries, they often take a long time to heal and can be accompanied by high levels of pain. Wound care nurses will not only know how to treat the wound itself, but will also be able to help the patient know how to treat symptoms of that wound, from pain to swelling.

Concluding Thoughts

The presence of a wound care certified nurse is an invaluable addition to any hospital nursing staff. They are highly qualified in a specific area but still contain the versatile knowledge of general nursing, and their participation in any healthcare facility should be valued.