Schedule continuing education.
It’s not just a good idea, it’s recommended in the Code of Ethics for Nurses,1
which encourages “a commitment to lifelong learning.” The best part is, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, work with a vendor partner to bring the right education courses to your facility. At Medline, the Skin Champion program comes in an easy-to-use kit
. Simply unpack lesson plans, teaching guides, unit-based bulletin boards and reference materials, and you’re ready to go. The additional knowledge will help you and the nursing staff reduce pressure injuries
, manage venous stasis
Embrace new technologies.Wound assessment is challenging, and common tools don’t always provide accurate results. In fact, while typical ruler measurements are budget-friendly, studies show2 this method leads to overestimates of wound size by up to 40 percent. Although digital technology may have higher upfront costs, it can deliver long-term savings and improved patient outcomes by producing more accurate results. Accomplish all that with the new NE1 smartphone app… coming soon.
Advocate to leadership.
Immersed in your day-to-day bustle, it’s easy to forget that your organization’s leadership doesn’t always know, or even understand, the importance of skin health. When they do, they’re more apt to stack resources in your favor. This year, plan to meet with executives for that crucial support—read about how
to participate in a productive meeting.
Be a good listener.“Listening is a leadership responsibility that does not appear in the job description,” writes Forbes contributor Glen Llopis in “6 Ways Effective Listening Can Make You a Better Leader.”3 Llopis’s business-savvy suggestions include simply showing staff you value them as people. “Employees want to be led by those who genuinely care about who they are,” he writes. Another of his suggestions: When a staff member expresses an opinion, ask them to elaborate, and don’t judge or interrupt.
Help patients adhere to treatment.
This year, vow to take a proactive approach to ensuring patients understand their treatment—and follow through on it. Arm yourself with information
about why patients don’t adhere to treatment and what to do to encourage adherence
Take advantage of educational packaging.
This one is a cinch, because you don’t have to do much, except choose and use products that double as teaching devices
. For example, several frequently used wound care items from Medline, such as Optifoam dressing, come in color-coded boxes with simple, illustrated instructions. Educational packaging not only makes your job easier, it also helps patients adhere to treatment plans.
Develop a mentoring culture.A buzzword in the corporate world, mentoring can be just as valuable within the healthcare setting. Mentoring benefits mentees, mentors and the nursing profession as a whole. As noted in the American Nursing Association article, “Mentoring 101: What you need to know about nurturing new nurses,”4 “Mentoring is a good way to strengthen the nursing workforce and, in turn, improve the quality of care and patient outcomes.” Ideally, the mentoring relationship follows a formal, structural arrangement, but if that isn’t possible, then informal matches can be created as well.
Lead with confidence.If you’re an experienced wound care nurse, you may find yourself in a leadership role with no actual managerial training. Build self-confidence by first reflecting on why you’ve been chosen to be a leader and why your strengths give others a reason to listen to you. Leadership expert Dan McCarthy has come up with “12 Ways to Develop Leadership Confidence.”5 They include studying and reading about leadership, helping others and, simply, dressing the part.
Pay it forward.Every year, the Wild on Wounds conference wraps up with an interactive, feel-good session about “Paying it Forward,” where audience members share how they’ve influenced the field of wound care in a positive way. You can also pay it forward as a way to express appreciation for nursing colleagues and encourage them to do the same for others. For ideas on how you can create a culture of kindness throughout your organization, check out the Pay it Forward Day6 website.
Take care of yourself.You expertly care for others, but according to the American Nurses Association Health Risk Appraisal,7 68 percent of nurses put their patients’ health, safety and wellness ahead of their own. This may seem heroic, but the Appraisal also reminds readers, “Nurses give the best care to patients when they are operating at their own peak wellness.” To do that, it’s important to assess your sleep, exercise, eating habits and mental health. If you’re lacking in any or all of those areas, resolve to make some small changes that put you on a path toward better self-care. You’re doing it for you—and your patients.