Over my 20-plus years of practice, I've come to realize that some things will always be certain. For instance, I can be sure that some days will be better-and some worse-than the one I just experienced. Working part-time as a nurse practitioner, I can always count on seeing more patients roll through the doors-some of them with wounds to care for.
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The facts speak for themselves. Up to 22% of the population over age 60 have some type of leg ulcer. Chronic venous insufficiency, the seventh most common chronic disease today, is responsible for 95% of leg ulcers. Among the population, 10% to 35% have some sort of venous disease; 8% to 10% have pure arterial disease. No doubt about it; you'll see these patients wherever you go.
But here's something else I've learned: The trick in caring for patients' wounds is being able to identify what type of wound it is. Then you'll know how best to treat it and how to prevent another one from occurring. Can you differentiate between venous, arterial, diabetic, and pressure ulcers? Can you make the right treatment choice, based on the latest professional guidelines?
Today, our actions-or lack of them-are measured through quality improvement activities. Good wound care can make a major positive impact.
To learn more about wounds, read about the latest assessment and treatment guideline for managing venous ulcers on page 8. Share this information with colleagues, and implement the latest guidelines at your institution to improve overall patient outcomes. Show patients and colleagues that you know your stuff-and that it makes a difference.
Anne Woods, RN, CRNP, APRN, BC, MSN
Clinical Director, Nursing2004