I’m sure I’m not the only Nurse who has been frustrated with poor communication and follow through with the management of wounds over time! Have you ever:
- Commenced your shift and found that a dressing that should have been left insitu for 2 – 3 days has been removed within 24 hours by a fellow staff member because they ‘don’t like that dressing’ or ‘ I’d prefer to use this one!’
- Been advised by a peer that ‘ This is the dressing I always use for ulcers’
- Had your rostered days off and returned to work to find that there are no updated instructions on the wound care chart – yet there is a new product being used !
- Started to do a dressing following the instructions contained in the wound care chart and the patient then states ‘ thats not the way ….. does it and they use different stuff!’
- Been concerned by the choice of dressing product being used!
We are Nurse Professionals! As we are registered with AHPRA we are recognised as having a discrete body of knowledge and skills to be applied with the work that we perform – and a critical aspect of this is communication! We all hate rework and we should be respectful of the knowledge and skills of our peers. When there is a difference of opinion we need to negotiate- and it shouldn’t be based on purely our ego, personal preferences and traditional practice! A common rule of thumb is that if a dressing needs to be changed more than once a day due to strike through or the product becoming displaced – the wrong product has been chosen! As we know the cost of wound care products is not cheap – and if we use them correctly they will save Nursing Time and reduce the Patients angst that’s associated with dressing changes, discomfort along with the common lifestyle restrictions that present when Patients are concerned about the wound ‘leaking’ or having to ‘get back because it needs changing’ or restricting their movement in case the ‘dressing falls off’.
When we negotiate we should stick to the facts and with wound care that’s easy! The products available have good instructions on their purpose and application methods along with contraindications. Organisations provide wound care assessment tools to guide us through the assessment process and wound photography provides objective evidence of how a wound looks! We need to aim for building consensus and then adhering to same! At the end of the day its about providing the best possible care for our patients based on recognised Principles of Best Practice and the Australian Wound Management Standards! If we all use these as the basis for our decision making regarding wounds – perhaps the common frustrations that many of us experience will dissipate!
What do you Think? I would love to hear your views!
If you would like more info on Wound Care we have an entire update section on our website dedicated to wound care, along with a myriad of quizzes, webinars and articles and tips to download.