A Wound is Born
We love to visit a small Florida Coastal community that is a warren of islets and tidal marshes whose flora and fauna fascinate us as much as the local population. We’ve written about our favorite bar that shares space with a restaurant and is a hub of activity in the quiet. As we settled in to ride our bikes home at the end of an evening of dominoes, conversation, darts and exotic beers, I lead with my right knee as I crashed into the asphalt.
The incident has come to be called my ‘BUI’ in my island folk tales. Biking under the influence was not too smart and I paid the price with a wounded knee. I was humiliated and embarrassed but able to pick myself up from the pavement with blood flowing onto my strappy sandals and proceed to bike home, slightly more sober for my pain.
Wounds come in all shapes and sizes:
- Cuts and scrapes, (embarrassing and otherwise)
- Major surgery
- Insect bites
- Dog bites
The list of possible interruptions of skin integrity is endless. No big deal. Our bodies’ defenses wield a mighty shield and the healing process wins.
What Happens When a Wound Doesn’t Heal?
For a multitude of reasons, a seemingly simple wound can become a life threatening event. Wounds of any kind are especially troubling for those who have:
- Chronic conditions requiring treatment with immune suppressing drugs
- Chronic conditions such as diabetes
- Any condition that compromises the circulatory system.
And many other conditions, including infection by an organism for which there is no known treatment.
Angela Savage is one of the nurses whose professional focus is to treat these wounds that have become problematic. So many procedures in medicine cause an interruption in the integrity of the skin so wound care is a major concern to medical institutions of all sorts. As our society ages and grows more obese and more people live linger with chronic illness, the problem of wound care will also increase. It is already a huge problem and keeps wound care specialists like Angela on the go. Her passion for her job is evident. She is ready pretty much 24/7 to share the expertise she has developed over her 15 years in the field. When you have a problem, why not get help from an expert?
Unless you’ve had a chronic wound or know someone who has, you might not have heard of this important area of the medical field. It is not a glamorous segment of nursing, but it is growing and the need is great. Angela reports there is plenty of work for the too few nurses who have expertise in wound care.
Why so Few Nurses in Wound Care?
When I asked this, Angela responded, “There is not a ‘wound care’ bible. There are resources, and there are groups and societies to reach out to, but each wound needs individual attention and response. Nurses are analytical and like a prescribed regimen to follow and that’s not what you do in wound care.”
Angela says she learns everyday and knows more each time she cares for a wound. She has cared for wounds at all stages and depths. The skin and its immune response is as individual and different as there are people on the planet. Angela has the expertise and ‘feel’ for wound care that can only come with years of experience. She treats according to what she sees.
Nursing? Wound Care?
Angela Savage never saw nursing, much less wound care, as her future passion. After editing her high school yearbook, she went to the University of her home state of Iowa as a journalism major. She was on track to write about wounds, not treat them. Her snowboarding team mates surely did not see wound care in Angela’s future, either.
When she finally went the nursing route, even early in her career, her gut feeling about wounds and their care captured her interest and she became the de facto floor ‘wound care’ nurse. Now she is not only over several hospital wound care programs, she developed some of them and takes call for those she’s trained.
Wound Care Nurses
Angela has a day job with a physician with whom she runs a private clinic. Additionally, she assists, takes calls for assistance and generally oversees the care of wounds from an extended network. Her base is in Denver, where there are very few nurses in this field considering the emerging need. Angela considers this is a wide open field for the nurses and suggested these niche areas for the wound care nurse entrepreneur:
- Innovators of Apps
- Combine any of the above
For the nurse who is interested in this emerging field, there are a multitude of resources and it’s one of the areas that has benefited tremendously from social media. Angela maintains a Facebook page focused on educating and increasing awareness of the resources available. She tweets and re-tweets as @nursesavage with information to expand the available wound care knowledge base.
Obviously, Angela loves what she does and chooses to give willingly of her time and expertise. The evening we chatted, she had spent the day assisting with Denver’s annual ‘Project Homeless’.
This humanitarian event provides volunteers who offer care to the Denver homeless in a variety of areas. The day is given to educating, treating, offering support and attempting to make a difference in this needy population. Caring for the homeless is another one of Angela’s passions, and she gives as much time as she can.
Wound care is not glamorous or precise but unfortunately it is a growth industry. Another edge a nurse would have if they chose this area to pursue is Angela Savage. She is ready to lend a hand not only with the education she offers at her Facebook page and through Twitter, but personally. She has an extensive profile on Linkedin. She exemplifies a nurse who has seen a need and is giving her all to make a difference.
Do you have questions about wound care? Do you need an expert in this area? Have you thought about this segment of nursing? Do you have a wound care story?
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