In celebrating the 20th anniversary of WoundSource, we would like to acknowledge the support of our readership. The WoundSource Reader Profile Series shares the stories behind our readers and how WoundSource currently impacts their wound care practices.
By Karen Zulkowski, DNS, RN
Wound Course Instructor, Excelsior College
Executive Editor, JWCET
Associate Professor at Montana State University-Bozeman & Wound Care Researcher (Retired)
Dr. Karen Zulkowski is recently retired from her role as associate professor at Montana State University-Bozeman, where she taught evidence based practice and lead field research for nearly 20 years. She began wound care research in her early days in graduate school, eventually obtaining her DNS from New York State University at Buffalo. She is currently working on the International Ostomy Guidelines for 2020 and is executive edit for the WCET Journal. Throughout her accomplished career, Dr. Zulkowski has displayed a commitment to advancing knowledge of wound care through research, mentoring and teaching.
Dedication to Wound Care Research
Dr. Zulkowski was introduced to wound care at Kent State while studying for her Masters. Dr. Daavina Gosnell, an early NPUAP member, encouraged Karen to pursue wound care and eventually earn her doctorate. One of her earliest accomplishments in research was evaluating the components of the recently released MDS. She headed a study focusing on an eight-facility nursing home chain and performed a nutritional assessment of the elderly in urban vs. rural environments. From there, she developed a passion for wound care research and continued engaging in new studies focused on improving patient’s lives and the science of wound care. Eventually she rose to an Associate Director position for Yale University’s Program for the Advancement of Chronic Wound Care and became a board member of the NPUAP.
Sharing Her Knowledge
Dr. Zulkowski has a strong desire to give back to the wound care community. She was lucky to have several good mentors at the beginning of her career and now she strives to be a mentor to those starting out in their own. Today, she teaches a new generation of wound nurses, both those who specialize in wound care and those who don’t, through her online course for Excelsior College. Karen also consults for AHRQ. She tells all of her students to never be afraid to try different things, understand how to read research, and always enjoy the opportunity to help patients and their families.
WoundSource as an Educational Tool
Dr. Zulkowski’s passion for learning about the latest in wound care technology makes her a regular WoundSource reader. She regularly brings up WoundSource in her teaching, using examples to help teach new nurses and educate them about the latest solutions available in wound care. She believes all nurses need to know about wound care products, regardless of whether they specialize in the field or not. WoundSource’s blog articles help her get nurses who don’t know a lot about wounds up to speed quickly so they can effectively dress wounds if there isn’t a wound nurse around. This helps improve patient outcomes and limits the liability of the care facility.
Despite all of Dr. Zulkowski’s expertise and research prowess, she still isn’t afraid to be hands on with patients when she needs to. She believes interacting and going the extra mile is important because it’s not just the wound or the ostomy, it’s the person who goes with it.
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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.