My first-time arrival to the college dorm definitely rates as one of the top ten uncool things I have ever done. Having gotten off the bus with a total of $80 in my pocket and all my worldly possessions in a single suitcase (no wheels on them back then!), I knocked on my dorm room door and announced to the people inside that I was a new roommate. The look on the faces of my roommate and her family (which consisted of what appeared to be all her living relatives, and all of whom seemed to have had a hand in building a pink explosion on her side of the room) was priceless! Of course, the ironing board that my mother gave me as a graduation gift and that was strapped to my suitcase, added to the effect. "Not necessary, I got it all here", I said, when they offered to help bring my stuff in. Their jaws dropped once again.
I still get that look and a similar response when asked what I do for a living and reply: "Wound care". Nine times out of ten I have to repeat this, enunciating slowly "Wooooouuunnnd care", which is met with a long acknowledging "Oooh", as if an apology is needed. Yes, our work is far from glamorous, and, as I have found through years of working with my peers, wound care professionals are cut from a slightly different cloth.
We are often accused of having a persistent attitude, which plays well into our hands when we are challenged . In our profession, the bigger the wound - the bigger the challenge, and the more satisfying it is to see it heal to completion. We derive satisfaction from small doses of progress in wounds' condition, from tracking every bit of healing detail each week, till we can take that final picture of healthy skin and be wowed.
We see a lot of suffering every day, and nothing can compare to a happy smile that lights up a face when a 6-, 10-, 14-year-old wound is gone. Nothing can serve as a better reward than a sincere "Thank you" from the family of a long-term wound care patient. This is what makes us feel really cool and we wouldn't trade that feeling for anything in the world.
Vicki Fischenich RN, MSN, GNP-BC, WCC
Director of Clinical Affairs
OSNovative Systems Inc.