There is a wide range of wounds of all kinds that wound care nurses have to deal with regularly.
Sometimes they manage simple wounds from small burns and laceration.
They also take care of severe surgical wounds and they have passed necessary training to take care of all complex and simple wounds.
Let’s see what the most common complex wounds are that wound care nurses treat.
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Burns are common wounds that each wound care nurses frequently treats.
The first step is to clean and debride the wound, then apply and change dressings.
When it comes to more severe burns, wound care nurses manage skin grafts.
They need to monitor the patient and wound for dehydration or infections, and manage pain, as part of the regular wound care.
Diabetic Ulcers/Chronic Wounds
Patients diagnosed with diabetes are at high risk for several health concerns.
Diabetes affects the circulatory system, among other organ systems.
Some diabetic patients suffer from skin ulceration due to impaired circulation, especially in the feet or legs.
Lower extremity edema can lead to painful blisters on the skin, which may open, and a wound nurse treats the edema to get the skin to heal properly.
When ulcers are chronic, diabetic patients need continuous care.
Patients with impaired mobility often suffer from pressure ulcers.
Therefore, the most common challenge for wound nurses is to treating pressure ulcers and maintenance of continuous pressure.
It is the first step in pressure ulcer care and higher stage ulcers are even more difficult to treat.
The proper pressure ulcer treatment depends on the stage.
The patients with Stage I ulcers need pressure relief and proper barrier cream that will protect the skin from moisture.
Nurses who take care of patients with Stage III pressure ulcers need to perform advanced procedures and aggressive care.
Often, they irrigate and debride chemically or manually the ulcers, change dressing frequently, etc.
A special field of wound care is ostomy care.
Many wound care nurses are also trained to take care of stomas.
Their tasks are to assess the stoma and surrounding skin, to change the ostomy supplies and education.
Education is highly important as ostomies are long-term issues.
Patients with stomas need proper home care.
There are so many types of wounds that wound nurses are trained for and perform every day.
For example, lacerations are common wounds that can happen during accidental injuries.
Also, wound nurses take care of gunshot wounds, road rash, animal bites, knife wounds, etc.
Sometimes, surgical wounds need special attention and special care.
Wound nurses are trained to manage the wound vac and they often perform it when it comes to more severe wounds.
All nursing specialties, including wound care, have unique challenges.
In wound care nursing, challenges depend on the type and severity of the wound.
As mentioned before, patients with pressure ulcers often have difficulties in mobility.
Therefore, the caregiver has to assist and help to mobilize the patients.
Another challenge of taking care of pressure ulcers is incontinence.
Wound nurses struggle to keep the skin dry, which is highly important over the bones to maintain the proper skin condition.
Another challenge is compliance.
Severe wounds require frequent dressing changes, sometimes even several times a day.
If the patient isn’t hospitalized, and a family takes care of the dressing, a nurse cannot be sure that the dressing change is done properly.
Therefore, they need to educate families on how to maintain cleanliness and promote skin healing.
Also, wound care needs to educate patients and families on an appropriate diet, alcohol, and cigarettes restraining, and the impact of other comorbidities on the healing.
Delayed healing is something all wound nurses face.
Even if all steps are done professionally, wound nurses need to identify first symptoms of infections and the beginning stages of skin breakdowns.
If any of the symptoms occur, wound care nurses need to assess the situation quickly and adjust the treatment as needed.
Taking care of any wound can be challenging, for patients and nurses.
Wounds can be extremely painful, so nurses must be able to assist the patient in removing pain and educate them on living the best life they can.
Also, extensive education on patient and family will help including the family in the treatment and ensuring better outcome.