Wound Care Nursing: An Alternative Career Path for Nurses
According to The Association For The Advancement Of Wound Care (AAWC), “More people are living with a chronic wound than with breast, colon, and lung cancers, and leukemia combined.” Moreover, the prevalence of leg ulcers in the US ranges between 500,000 and one million, and over 1% of the population has or has had a venous leg ulcer.
Yet, the AAWC also notes that while pressure ulcers have a 15% prevalence, at least 95% of them are preventable. Diabetic ulcers are not much different. While 16% of them will lead to an amputation, most are preventable.
Information like this indicates that there is a tremendous need for nurses who are educated in wound care. Utilizing various techniques to assess, treat, and care for patients with wounds, wound care nurses work with the doctor and care team to determine if other treatments like surgery or antibiotics are necessary. Wound care nurses also offer education to patients and their caretakers about caring for wounds, reducing their incidence, and preventing further complications. Here are five ways in which becoming a wound care specialist can help nurses.
According to the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) National Diabetes Statistics Report, 34.2 million, or 10.5% of the US population, have diabetes. Further, 88 million or 34.5 % of the US population 18 years or older have prediabetes. The CDC also notes that the cases of type 1 and type diabetes continue to rise.
As more people become diabetic and possibly bedridden, they also become more at risk for pressure ulcers and diabetic amputations. While the National Institutes of Health describe chronic wounds as a significant and often underappreciated burden to the individual, they also impose a burden on the healthcare system and society. Nurses who are wound care specialists stay abreast of the evolving market trends and meet the demand for wound care specialists.
Advance Employment Outlook
Treating chronic wounds requires a variety of techniques, such as debridement, cleaning, bandaging. Moreover, effective wound management involves working with the doctor and care team to determine if other treatments like surgery or antibiotics are necessary. Because additional training and techniques are required to effectively treat chronic wounds and improve their outcome, nurses who specialize in wound care significantly improve their employment outlook.
Wound care nursing: an alternative career path for nurses.
Improve Patient Outcomes
Complications of chronic wounds, such as cellulitis and infective venous eczema, gangrene, hemorrhage, and lower-extremity amputations, can worsen outcomes. In a sort of vicious cycle, chronic wounds can lead to disability, and disability worsens wound outcomes. In the case of amputation, the prognosis is also not positive. The CDC states that after an amputation, 13-40% of people will die within a year, and 39-80% within five years. For comparison, 5-year mortality for all cancers is 34.2%. Nurses who are educated in how to treat chronic wounds, therefore, can significantly improve patient outcomes.
Reduce Hospital Stay
The NCBI describes chronic wounds as those that, after eight weeks, do not show any signs of healing. This includes venous leg ulcers, pressure ulcers, and complex wounds. Chronic wounds are those that do not progress through normal, orderly, and timely healing. As such, according to American Family Physician, they are common and are often incorrectly treated. This leads to an increased hospital stay. By understanding how to treat chronic wounds correctly and effectively, nurses can significantly reduce patient hospital stays.
Because chronic wounds are inherently hard to manage and may require and coordinated effort by a multidisciplinary team, they pose a patient at a greater risk for rehospitalization. This may occur as the wound fails to heal correctly, or should the patient and caregiver lack the necessary education needed to improve wound healing. According to woundsound.com, patient education and caregiver involvement are critical components in wound healing and ultimately improving patient outcomes. When wounds heal correctly, rehospitalization rates are dramatically reduced. By becoming educated in wound care, nurses can help improve wound care management and reduce rehospitalization rates.
The rates of chronic wounds are increasing rapidly, as is the rate of people at risk of developing a chronic wound. Through becoming specialized in the care of wounds, nurses meet market trends, advance employment outlook, improve patient outcomes, reduce hospital stay, and prevent rehospitalization.
About The Author
Claire Nana, LMFT, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist who specializes in post-traumatic growth, optimal performance, and wellness. She has written over thirty continuing education courses on a variety of topics including nutrition, mental health, wound care, and post-traumatic stress.
RN writers create healthcare content and manage online websites containing helpful information that readers are searching for. They are usually, but not always, developed based on the creator’s medical niche or personal interests.
One benefit of becoming a nurse blogger or freelance writer is that each post or article can be written from a unique perspective, as nurses work in so many different specialties with diverse patient populations. Also, nurses have different skillsets and experiences that they can bring to their writing. Nurses have unique skills and helpful information to share.
Nurse writers have som much to share from many perspectives: working mom and nurse lifestyle, nurse finance, nursing informatics, new graduate nursing, nurse humor, nursing apparel, nursing specialties…and the list goes on and on.
Complete creative control over your content and products
Better writing chops: each time you write a new piece, you improve and continue to develop your writing skills.
Better thinking abilities: the writing process helps you to stop and think deeper. You will find yourself having more definite opinions about nurse topics that matter. You will also discover thoughts and ideas about nursing that you didn’t even know you had.
Perks of becoming a nurse writer or freelance blogger:
Nurse bloggers and freelance writers are also entrepreneurs who run their own businesses. Many often also have full-time positions and do their writing/website design in the evenings or weekends. There is no set schedule; therefore, you can decide to work or not work whenever you want. It is important to note, however, that successful bloggers and freelance writers must work incredibly hard to get their businesses up and running, often for years before making any money.
If starting a nursing blog is something that you are interested in, check out the following links:
Becoming a mother is a full-time job in itself. Depending on your work-life situation, you might want to consider working in a nursing field that is more flexible and offers you the balance that you need. Childcare can be a challenge for nurses, especially for moms who work 12-hour shifts.
In no particular order, here are 5 of the best nurse jobs for moms:
#1. Per diem nurse
#1. Best nurse jobs for moms: per diem nursing
To work “per diem” means to work “by the day.” Per diem nurses are essential to every hospital organization because they allow the administration to fill in gaps where they don’t have enough nurses scheduled to work. It also will enable nurses who don’t have a very flexible schedule, like new moms, to pick the exact hours and days that they can work.
Per diem nurses are often required to work a specific amount of shifts each month. As a per diem nurse myself, I am required to work a minimum of four shifts in a thirty day period. However, I can ask to work as many shifts as I want. It puts me in an excellent position to earn money- I work on all of the days that I have childcare scheduled, and I don’t have to worry about being scheduled on the days I don’t.
Also, per diem nurses are usually able to call off within a specific time frame before a shift starts. For example, if my child becomes sick 12 hours before the start of a nursing shift, and I know I will be unable to work the next day, then I can cancel myself. It leaves a lot of wiggle room for me to schedule or unschedule myself when I need to be at home with my children. Most working moms don’t have that kind of flexibility, and it helps relieve a lot of stress.
The one drawback to per diem nursing is that you are only paid on the days that you work – you don’t have an allotment of sick days. Also, if the facility does not need any additional staffing, then you might get canceled. Which might not be OK if you were depending on the money you were going to earn that day.
Why being a per diem nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
Total flexibility over work schedules
Ability to call-off at the last minute
Higher per hour pay then career nursing
#2. School Nurse
#2. Best nurse jobs for moms: school nurse
School nurses work in educational facilities, including public and private schools (K through 12). They support students and staff who become ill at work or need other kinds of medical attention.
Also, many school nurses are educators and teach various health topics to kids, such as healthy eating and the importance of physical exercise. School nurses address the physical and mental needs of students, which helps them succeed in school and sets them up for success in the future.
Becoming a school nurse is an excellent job for nurses who are mothers because you would work during regular school hours -the same hours that your children would be at school. It also means that you wouldn’t have to work weekends, night shifts, or holidays.
Many school nurses find the career rewarding because you are able to help start kids out on the right health track from their early years. Many studies show that long term health has a greater success rate when children are taught healthy habits from an early age. School-age kids are impressionable, and nurses can make a significant impact on how they take care of their health as they grow up.
Why being a school nurse is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
Only work during regular school hours (no weekends, nights, or holidays)
A rewarding career helping children develop healthy habits from a young age
Case management is another great opportunity for working moms because you can help patients through planning, care coordination, facilitation, and advocacy of patient’s medical needs. Case managers collaborate with all outside aspects of patient care to make sure the patient stays safe and gets the care they need.
According to the Case Management Society of America, “Case Management is a collaborative process of assessment, planning, facilitation, care coordination, evaluation, and advocacy for options and services to meet an individual’s and family’s comprehensive health needs through communication and available resources to promote patient safety, quality of care, and cost-effective outcomes.”
Telehealth nursing is when nurses can give nursing care, information, or advice to patients over the phone. It also helps to improve efficiency in the healthcare system and help to treat patients in remote areas who otherwise would not be able to receive care.
Telehealth nurses work in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and for corporations. It is becoming more widely used in recent years due to improvements in technology and an ncreasing need to help patients remotely.
Why telehealth is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
Ability to work remotely from home
Able to help patients without having to work strenuous shifts in the hospital
#5. Advice Nurse
#5. Best jobs for nurses: advice nurse
When patients are not feeling well at home or have a question about a medical issue, advice nurses are used to help field questions via phone. One of the most significant benefits to patients is that it helps them determine what kind of medical care they need before they come into the hospital.
Why advice nursing is one of the best nursing jobs for moms:
Sometimes a work from home position
Less strenuous then 12-hour work shifts at the hospital
Ability to help patients remotely
There are so many alternative nurse careers for nurses who are moms. In fact, that is one of the best reasons to become a nurse – the nursing profession offers so many unique career opportunities that other professions simply do not.
Take care of your family first, and fit your nursing career in a way that serves your family best. Good luck!
There are so many career options for nurses outside of the traditional hospital setting. If nursing is your passion, but doing rounds on the patient floor is not, consider one of these five non-bedside nurse jobs that you may not have heard of before.
#1. Public Health Advisor
Non-bedside nurse job #1: public health nurse
With the current outbreak of COVID-19, the Center for Disease Control is receiving a lot of attention. Many look to organizations like the CDC for guidance on how to stay safe through when a public health crisis strikes.
Nurses make great public health advisors because they already have experience working directly with patients in a variety of healthcare settings. They can take their clinical knowledge and years of direct patient care experience and apply it in the public health arena.
Public health advisors develop and implement public health programs. Also, they build relationships with all levels of government organizations and project management. It is also possible to get involved in politics to initiate change at the national level, like former nurse Congresswoman Lauren Underwood.
Working as a public health advisor can be a fascinating new career for nurses. Who knows, one day we could even have a nurse in the oval office!
Recommended Education Level: The minimum requirement for a public health advisor is a BSN or three years of comparable general experience; however, specialized expertise or completion of higher education programs like an MSN with a concentration in Public Health are preferred. You can find more information on job listings and requirements here.
#2. Clinical Trial Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #2: clinical trial nurse
Clinical trials are the process by which cures for cancer and other diseases are discovered – and they are at the forefront of the ever-changing field of medicine.
A clinical trial nurse serves as coordinators for clinical trials and implements good clinical practice for the emerging treatment modalities. This job is an excellent fit for nurses who are as passionate about patient rights as they are scientific advancement.
At this very moment, thousands of trials are being conducted worldwide in all fields of medicine. For example, one clinical trial aims to prevent the onset of rheumatoid arthritis – as another clinical trial is testing the efficacy of a swab test to detect neurodegenerative disorders. For the nurse with scrutinizing attention to detail and compassion for helping sick patients, becoming a clinical trial nurse would be an exhilarating position to hold.
Recommended Education Level: A BSN is required for most clinical trial nurse roles. Advanced degrees — such as an MSN — are critical for those who wish to assume a leadership role within clinical trials and research nursing.
#3. Movie-Set Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #3: movie set nurse
Hollywood magic knows no limits. Car crashes, fight scenes, and defying gravity are just some of the ways actors and showbiz execs can get hurt on the job, and it happens more often than we think. This is why it’s so important to have skilled medical professionals on set at all times. Nurses, paramedics, and doctors are all found on the sidelines of silver screen productions to provide first-aid care and more.
Movie productions must staff large groups of people who work long hours. They often work with heavy machinery, putting them at risk for injury. Often, very risky work is being performed. Some action scenes – think the kind with stunt doubles – can cause accidents.
The medical team on-site needs to be able to act quickly in case of incidents and emergencies — making your ER experience a great asset. The ability to stay calm and focused in the wake of accidents are key strengths many nurses already possess.
Nursing gigs in the film industry are fiercely competitive, so you’ll want to accentuate your ability to act quickly and efficiently if you get a chance to interview. The pay may not be great at first – often as low as $15/hour – but there’s no telling where an opportunity may take you. One nurse even got hired to go on tour with Beyonce!
Recommended Education Level: Minimum requirement of an associate’s degree.
#4. Hotel/Resort Nurse
Non-bedside nurse job #4: hotel/resort nurse
People on vacation rarely foresee a need for medical care. But as health care providers, we know that illness and injury can happen anytime, anywhere. Hotels and resorts employ nurses to be on-site in case guests need first-aid or assistance getting more intensive care at a local hospital.
Resort nurse jobs, like this one at Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company, can be pretty sweet gigs (pun intended). Depending on where you find work, you may even be able to spend your days off at the beach or a snowy mountaintop!
Recommended Education Level: Minimum requirement of an associate’s degree.
#5. Legal Nurse Consultant
Non-bedside nurse job #5: legal nurse consultant
Legal nurse consultants (LNC) serve as liaisons between the medical and legal fields in a variety of venues. LNCs can serve as expert witnesses, be employed by law firms that handle medical malpractice or personal injury law, work in forensic environments, and some opt to open their own independent practices.
The American Association of Legal Nurse Consultants has an extensive list of tasks performed by LNCs. These range from medical research to drafting legal documents and helping attorneys prepare for trial. In this riveting career, you’ll get to see the legal side of the medical field and use your nursing expertise in the name of justice.
As an LNC, you can dip your toes in to see how you like the field while building an autonomous career. According to LNC Wendie Howland, any nurse with 8-10 years of experience can serve as an expert witness for an attorney. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn where medical and judiciary interests intersect.
Recommended Education Level: An associate’s degree is the minimum requirement, but for certain positions, particularly in forensics, completing a program of higher education like an MSN with a specialization in Forensic Nursing is recommended.
There are so many non-bedside nurse jobs for experienced RN’s who want to advance their careers out of the bedside. Consider doing a little soul-searching and decide where your nursing career will take you next!
Guest author Pamela Mahler is a content specialist for Aspen University. She is passionate about learning and producing valuable resources that empower others to enhance their lives through education. Aspen University offers CCNE accredited programs at every degree level. Aspen created affordable degrees and 0%-interest payment plans with transparent pricing so that nurses can focus on courses, not the fine print.