Nursing’s role in wound care has come a long way

Eileen P. Williamson, MSN, RN

Eileen P. Williamson, MSN, RN

Man has been caring for wounds since the very first skin break occurred. From the early hunters who treated wounds with herbs and honey to the advent of microbiology and cellular pathology and the later discoveries of fibrous synthetics, grafting and tissue engineering, wound care has been part of healthcare.

Since wound, ostomy and continence nursing became a specialty in the 1950s, its members have continually honed their skills, advanced their knowledge in wound/ostomy care management and increased their WOCN-certified numbers. They’ve moved into diverse settings, including hospitals, long-term care facilities, outpatient clinics and patient homes. They’ve treated patients with various wound types, from simple lacerations and abrasions to contusions and crush wounds; from ulcers, burns and punctures to trauma wounds made up of several wound types and all types of ostomies.
Wound care has a long history filled with familiar names and advances, from Lister and Dakin to Robert Wood Johnson; from phenol and surgical gauze to Alginate wound dressings and wound vacs. As nurses, we’re proud of the strides the specialty has made and how our ability to care for patients suffering from this common but complex problem has increased.

And we need to keep those strides going by continuing to learn! Read an interesting wound care Q&A from the president of the WOCN Society and updates on the techniques these specialized nurses are using on pressure ulcers in the OR.  Read another one of our stories on the care of patients with wounds in the rehab setting.

Still want to learn more about wounds? Take our CE modules at Nurse.com/CE.

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