By Heather Koitzsch, contributing writer from KERH Group, LLC
Two wound care professionals, two different paths, same career satisfaction...The dynamic world of wound care has provided both Sally Matson and Kathy Richardson the opportunities to integrate their accumulated health care skills with a common thread at the Orlando Health care system. The patients, staff camaraderie, and new wound care technology are some of the elements that have enlightened them to this challenging yet exciting career.
The Path to Becoming a Wound Specialist
As with many professions in a field as ever-changing as medicine, there is not just one pathway to follow into the world of wound care. Sally Matson, RN, MS, CWOCN entered wound care in 1982 after working as an oncology nurse. While volunteering for the American Cancer Society, she was offered a grant to attend Enterostomal Therapy School at M.D. Anderson Cancer Hospital, as there was a significant need for this specialty. Enterostomal Therapy has evolved into the nursing specialty of CWOCN (Certified Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing), as it is known today. Sally has worked 14 years as a CWOCN for Orlando Health including inpatient and outpatient settings. When asked what she enjoys about wound care, she emphasized the constant learning and uniqueness of each scenario noting that "no two patients or wounds are alike." She relishes the combination of art and science in the field of wound care. Sally also has her Master of Science degree in medical education and her career roles have included a private consulting business, legal review, lecturing, and writing for publication.
Kathy Richardson, BS, CWS, FCCWS developed an interest in wound care in college during her physical therapy rotations which included hydrotherapy and burn care. She has a physiology/sports medicine degree and worked in cardiac rehabilitation prior to her career in wound care which began in 1990. It was during that year Orlando Health created a wound care team and she was asked to be part of the team. She became a Certified Wound Specialist (CWS) and fellow to the College of Certified Wound Specialists (FCCWS) and has worked in wound care, inpatient and outpatient settings, including hyperbaric oxygen therapy, and hydrotherapy. Kathy also talks about the distinction between each respective case and that "every day is different and exciting." She asserts that outpatient wound clinics should be relied on more often to streamline wound healing and minimize the need for the patient to use the emergency room for wound care issues. The wound clinic has recently been named as a Center for Excellence in Total Contact Casting (the gold standard treatment for diabetic foot ulcers), and Kathy has been established as the Expert Trainer for Total Contact Casting.
Wound Care Nursing Challenges
Kathy and Sally thoroughly enjoy their experiences with Orlando Health and emphasize the quality of teamwork, management support, and wound care excellence they witness on a daily basis. They work with a talented group of health care professionals with some staff members having worked together for 12-15 years. Kathy mentions that some patients feel like "part of the family."
Common challenges working in the outpatient wound clinic include motivating patients to change to healthier behaviors and dealing with insurance reimbursement for procedures and treatments. As Sally stated, "They know what can benefit the patient, but can't always get it covered by insurance." In spite of the challenges, the future looks exciting! Sally knows that the industry will continue to improve products and techniques and anticipates advances in scientific development so that one day the "wound may be able to tell us what it needs to heal through a simple test."
While both of these wound care specialists have traveled different roads to their current success, they both agree that Orlando Health has provided them with the opportunity to flourish in their vocational endeavors. Orlando Health Wound Healing Center at Lucerne exemplifies their dedication to their trade. It is staffed by a multidisciplinary team of experienced physicians, nurses, technologists, CNAs, and office personnel, specializing in treating and healing wounds through individualized procedures, dressings, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, when indicated. The Wound Healing Center is overseen by Medical Director, Dr. Walter Conlan, MD, CWSP, who has the only full-time wound care practice in Central Florida. Each patient receives a comprehensive assessment and customized wound care treatment plan which leads to improved disease management, enhanced patient satisfaction, and reduced ER visits and inpatient admissions.
About the Author
Heather Koitzsch is a registered dietitian and owner of KERH Group LLC, a publisher representative for WoundSource and other leading brands specializing in recruitment advertising.
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.