How to Make Staff Education Fun with a Wound Care Carnival Protection Status
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My approach to long-term care education has always been to have fun and leave a lasting impression so that my audience will learn. Anyone that has been to one of my skin and wound care classes will validate this (*wink wink*).

When it comes time to prepare annual skill competencies, it is my favorite time to have a skin and wound care carnival! I would like to share a few ideas for promoting not only pressure ulcer prevention and awareness, but to check off your nursing staff on skills. It can be a challenge getting employees motivated.

First Steps in Organizing a Wound Care Education Carnival Event

I begin by forming a team to help organize the carnival. Bring in the participation of motivated licensed nursing staff and senior nursing assistants. There are always opportunities to have wound care product vendors there, as well. Together we discuss the "hot topics" and decide on who will be in charge of what topic booths. Keeping the crowd moving through stations has been the best way I have figured out in keeping everyone engaged in the learning. Think of carnival events, and make it real.

Some things you can do to replicate a carnival experience for your nursing staff:

  • Rent a popcorn machine or cotton candy machine
  • Play carnival music
  • Create games – Wound Care Hopscotch, Treasure Hunt, and Wound Bingo
  • Decorate with vibrant colors
  • Reward employees with prizes

Wound Care Educational Carnival Booth Station Ideas:

Use a pear to teach pressure ulcer staging. It is fun and easy to show the skin structure damage.
Stage I pressure ulcer is a pear that is a bit too ripe. Non-blanchable erythema.
Stage II pressure ulcer is without the pear skin, along with a serous filled blister.
Stage III pressure ulcer is when you take a bite out of the pear.
Stage IV pressure ulcer is when you eat the pear to the core. Once a stage IV, always a stage IV.
Unstageable pressure ulcer is a caramel covered pear. Once the caramel is gone, you can stage it.
Suspected Deep Tissue Injury is when you drop your pear. Think of a bruise color or blood filled blister.

To demonstrate friction and shear, you can use a sheet of tissue paper. Have the staff participants rub the piece of tissue paper while leaning against the wall pushing back and forth. The tissue paper will crinkle. Discuss how to prevent this from happening and introduce the appropriate use of offloading devices or positioning.

Use grapefruits cut in half to demonstrate wound measuring, and application of negative pressure wound therapy.

Wound assessment can be done with a watermelon. The seeds are necrotic tissue. You can make tunnels to measure as well.

Use a punch bowl and add red food coloring. Have nursing staff apply a thin layer of barrier cream or petroleum, to the top of their hands. Have participates put both hands in the punch bowl for 2 minutes. This demonstration will show the importance of using moisture barriers for incontinence care.

Have staff participants sit on a pillow with a firm ball underneath. Tell the participant they are not to change or shift their positions for 10 minutes.

Station #7 PETER PLUM
Pulling off silk tape from an over-ripe plum will pull the plum’s skin off demonstrating how easy skin can tear. This simulates fragile skin of an elderly resident and the silk tape or dressing.

Making learning about pressure ulcer prevention and wound care fun will generate better results. Education must be ongoing in any health care setting to produce quality of care.

"Education is the key to success in life, and teachers make a lasting impact in the lives of their students."
-Solomon Ortiz

About the Author
Cheryl Carver is an independent wound educator and consultant. Carver's experience includes over a decade of hospital wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Carver single-handedly developed a comprehensive educational training manual for onboarding physicians and is the star of disease-specific educational video sessions accessible to employee providers and colleagues. Carver educates onboarding providers, in addition to bedside nurses in the numerous nursing homes across the country. Carver serves as a wound care certification committee member for the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, and is a board member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society Mid-West Chapter.

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.


I love this! I would always get so excited about our skills fair at the hospital. I took a lazy susan from Ikea and made a 'Wheel o Wounds'. I would have the participants spin it and I'd say 'Naaame thaaaat woound!' Everyone hated my booth because would make them work for the signature on their skills checklist ;)

Awesome post!

Cheryl this is great!! What a fabulous way to make learning fun and interactive! Great job!

Great ideas.... Thank you for sharing this. Awaiting to hear more from you

Great ideas for my skills fair coming up

I have been to some event last year, which wasn’t a carnival exactly, but a wound care awareness initiative at my boy’s school. I got to admit, I learned some basics about caressing deep wounds. Dealing with wounds need more than ‘half-knowledge’ or you’ll spoil it.

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