Working in a hospital or in a school setting it is easy to categorize our skill sets and to think only within our own "scope of practice." Though it is critical to practice within our scope of practice we must also think about how our skill set and interventions can play into the bigger picture of our patients plan of care. For instance today I was fortunate enough to follow a Wound Care RN. This is the second time in approximately three years that I have had this opportunity and I would highly recommend it. I recommend it for three main reasons...
1. You will have a stronger appreciation for your patient. Often times we forget about the pain and other issues that our patients are going through. We focus on our own plan of care and stick to it. Though it is good to focus on our own plan of care it is also equally, if even more important to look at the patient as a whole. Empathize with this patient - most likely they are enduring more emotional and physical pain then we could ever imagine!
2. You will have a new appreciate for your colleagues. I find wound care fascinating and if I was in another life and did not find the field of Speech-Language Pathology maybe I would have pursued this specialty but I believe the general consensus for this job is "I could never do this." Wound Care is graphic and very intense!
3. You can withstand just about anything after seeing an intense wound care session!
So back to wound care and our involvement. Today I asked the wound care RN, "what would you want SLP's to know about your job?" The RN's response was "the importance of protein in the patient's diet in order to heal the wound." We are an integral part of the patient's healing process! Not only are we improving the patients quality of life for being able to eat with his/her family and friends but we are also making an impact of healing the patient's body. Now of course we rely greatly on our RD's in all cases to ensure adequate nutrition via PO or NPO status but remember we are an avenue to help in this process!
Have any of you worked with wound care before? What were your experiences?