RN Registered Nurses take care of people who are sick, injured, convalescent or disabled. They care for patients by assessing, planning, intervention, implementation and evaluation, under general supervision, and in accordance with established practices and philosophy. Registered Nurses work with other professionals to ensure patient care is delivered effectively to achieve desired patient outcomes. The RN must effectively interact with the patient and family members while maintaining the standard of professional nursing. There are many travel assignments and jobs available for the Registered Nurse as the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes that nursing is one of the top 10 occupations with the largest job growth. Where would you like to visit? Work in a great environment and enjoy free time seeing places you have always wanted to visit. Many great opportunities await the Registered Nurse in today’s market!
Wound Care Registered Nurses treat patients who have both chronic and acute wounds, which may consist of surgical incisions that have not healed, pressure ulcers and burns. The RN will support the healing of the wound and provide preventative care to ensure infection does not set in or that complications do not arise. The Wound Care also plays a crucial educational role, teaching the patient and family members how to properly care of their wounds after they are home.
The nurse is part of a team, and will coordinate and collaborate with other health care professionals to ensure the patient receives everything necessary for proper healing. The patient’s needs must first be evaluated and assessed to determine how to proceed. The RN would then consult with patient’s physician and offer suggestions. The RN may also need to bring in other professionals to address factors such as diet and lifestyle, which is crucial to support healing. Social workers and/or case managers may be recruited as well to oversee the patient’s care once they return to their home, especially in cases where the patient has no caregiver or the family needs help with the care of the patient.
Proper wound care is often complex. Serious burns or wounds that won’t heal present a serious threat to the health of the patient. Thorough cleaning of the patient’s wound is the first step as the dead skin must be removed and to prevent bacteria from entering the wound and making the patient ill. Some wounds may require multiple layers of bandages and the process can take an hour or more. The Wound Care RN must know what type of bandage and dressing to use for each type of wound. The dressing that helps an abscess may not work for another type of wound.
Patients will normally return weekly in order for the Wound Care RN to assess the progress of the healing and evaluate the efficiency of the treatments and medications being used. If a wound does not heal as expected, the RN will search for the underlying cause and make changes to the treatment protocol until a strategy is found that the patient responds to. Pain management and mobility issues are additional considerations in addition to directly treatment the wound. The patient’s pain can lead to the patient becoming sedentary, causing other complications and making the injury worse. The Wound Care RN attempts to improve the patient’s quality of life and minimize their pain.
Most patients are seen on an Outpatient basis and the nurse cannot monitor the healing every day or administer 24/7 care. The patient and family members must be educated by the RN on the proper ways to care for their wounds at home, including how to change the bandages and prevent infection. Education may also be provided to the patient and family about proper hydration and nutrition as well as how they should move, stand and sit. As an example, too much sitting may place pressure on the wound and make it worse or even cause new wounds such as pressure ulcers.
Requirements of the Wound Care RN includes:
- Appropriate assessment skills which includes prioritization and delegation of patient care activities.
- Knowledge necessary to provide patient care by making sure all instruments, supplies and equipment are available for procedure.
- Assessment of the patient’s pain
- Demonstrate correct application for sterilization including the use of: steris, chemical disinfectants and determine the proper method of sterilization for each item.
- Protect the welfare of the patient with accurate labeling and handling of specimens. All specimens will be initialed and recorded as required.
- Follow all policies and demonstrate appropriate use of medications and medication administration, including reassessment of patient’s responses to medications.
- Ensure all patient safety goals are incorporated into the care of the patient utilizing the nursing process.
- Knowledge of aseptic technique.
- IV Therapy: insertion, aseptic technique, site, dressing, tubing changes and use of pumps.
- Institute corrective actions during an emergency situation in a calm and efficient manner.
- Carry out the physician’s orders and assist the physician during procedures if required.
- Completes accurate documentation in a timely manner.
- Provide support and comfort to the patient and/or family members.