The Accidental Wound Care Nurse
by Samantha Kuplicki, MSN, APRN-CNS, ACNS-BC, CWS, CWCN, CFCN
After graduating with my BSN and passing the NCLEX, I was dead set on becoming the perfect ICU nurse. I am a very detail-oriented, meticulous, and organized person, which I had been told is great for the critical care environment. I had completed an externship in cardiac ICU in the spring before graduation, and felt I had an excellent chance of securing employment on that unit. I fit in with the team, the manager liked me, and I had begun to develop relationships with the physicians. After my interview, I was told I had not been selected for the position. I felt lost and defeated. I could not understand what I had done wrong.
Directions in Nursing – Which Path Should I Choose?
I returned to the part-time position I had secured earlier in the spring as a corrections nurse (I sat for the NCLEX-PN halfway through my BSN program) and was offered a full-time position. Life went on, another year passed. I loved the people, the structured environment, and the interactions with other staff, but I was not happy. I was not moving forward. I was not learning. I was not obtaining new skills. Anyone in corrections can tell you it takes a specific type of person to make it their specialty focus in nursing. I was not that type.
During a routine perusal of the area job listings (I always look, even if I'm not actually seeking employment, mostly out of sheer curiosity), I found a listing titled, "Wound Care RN for Traveling Outpatient Wound Clinics-No Experience Required!" I was immediately intrigued. I remember rounding with a WOC nurse during my senior year of nursing school, and it was an immensely educational experience. The height of our wound care education in nursing school was the proper application of a sterile wet-to-dry dressing (which I failed in my final practicum, by the way). I decided to forward my resume and hope for the best. I interviewed the following week and was offered the position.
The Path of Wound Care Knowledge
The following year was an experience like none other. I attended multiple educational conferences, learning the intricacies of acute and chronic wound care. I had amazing mentors, both physicians and nurses who had a genuine interest in sharing knowledge and healing patients. Our team saw 70+ patients per week in various rural and metro hospital settings... it was learning via clinical immersion at its finest! I was hooked. This was the life for me. Learning new skills, helping patients, and working with others who share the same passion: using knowledge and experience to solve the puzzle that is a patient with a wound.
Fast-forward four exciting years, and I am now certified in wound and foot care, and serve on several industry committees. I have also returned to academia in pursuit of an Advanced Practice degree as a CNS (Clinical Nurse Specialist) in Adult/Gerontology so that I may be more involved in the care of patients with chronic wounds.
I consider being a wound care nurse a special privilege, which I have been very fortunate to receive. This is not to say by any means that this achievement has come without heartfelt effort; I thoroughly enjoy the acquisition of new knowledge and practical experience. I hope to positively impact the lives of those afflicted with wounds and exceed the standards created by others that have gone before me. I thank you for taking the time to share in my experience. I will be discussing a wide range of wound care-related topics in future posts and enjoy learning through the feedback of others, so please feel encouraged to share your thoughts, ideas, and experiences!
Until we blog again... I leave you with this quote:
"All life is a series of problems that we must try to solve."
-Lady Grantham, Downton Abbey
About the Author
Samantha Kuplicki is board certified in wound care by both the American Board of Wound Management as a Certified Wound Specialist (CWS) and by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Certification Board as a Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN) and Certified Foot Care Nurse (CFCN). She serves on the American Board of Wound Management (ABWM) Examination Committee and also volunteers for the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care.
The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.