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How a Wound Care Nurse Went Above and Beyond Caring for Her Patients

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I remember having complications after surgery and my surgeon mentioned that I’d need a wound vac as well as having my ileostomy checked post-op the next day. I wasn’t happy about the infection, but at least there was something that could be done to heal the opening on my abdomen. When the wound care nurse came in the following morning to see me, she had a smile on her face and introduced herself as Susan. I was so happy to see someone who was upbeat and so positive. I introduced myself as her patient and that my stoma’s name was Bob because it would “bob” up and down when it’d work.

She then went on to explain why my surgeon wanted me to use the wound vac and how it worked. Then she checked my ileostomy before packing the infected area with this black sponge type material as it was near my stoma and could cause adherence issues if not taken care of properly. We got to talking about different things and I had mentioned to her that I belonged to a local ostomy support group that does hospital visitations and phone support. Then I started asking questions regarding what was in the vac packing, how long it usually took to heal using the machine, would it interfere with my changing the bag, and how could I get around since the machine was huge and hooked up to the outlet. Susan took the time to explain her answers and reassured me that I could walk with the vac once I came home and the visiting nurses would provide me with a mini machine version so I could get around the house and go to my appointments.

Once I was discharged, I continued with my recovery. After I was finally healed , I contacted Susan to let her know that I’d like to offer my assistance in speaking to her patients post-op if they had any questions or concerns. I sent her the Greater Buffalo Ostomy Association’s fliers and business cards to put in the folders she made to give to new ostomates, and then she’d call me whenever she had a patient who needed someone to talk to or visit. Our group truly appreciated her supporting our organization as there have been so many people from the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation who needed ostomy surgery due to ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease, but didn’t know that there was help available to them should they have questions once they were discharged from the hospital.

Out of all the wound care nurses I’ve had since I was 17, Susan was the best one who took care of me because she had a contagious smile, always took the time to care for my wound and ostomy, she never rushed, and she never made me feel that my questions and concerns were of a bother to her. She has since retired, but I want her to know that she’s made a positive impact on my life by her compassion and understanding after everything I’ve gone through as a “professional patient.”  I’ll never forget her kindness and I’ll never forget her going above and beyond in caring for so many others like myself. I’ll be forever grateful and I thank Susan from the bottom of my heart for showing the true meaning of what it means to be a wound care nurse.

Getty Image by monkeybusinessimages

Originally published: July 23, 2018
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