The Lived Experience of the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse in Wound Care

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PURPOSEThe purpose of this qualitative research study was to explore the meaning of being a wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) nurse engaged in wound care practice.SUBJECTS AND SETTINGThe sample comprised 6 WOC nurses, each of whom had 3 or more years of wound care experience in a variety of care settings. Respondents were female, 49 years or older, and master's prepared. Interviews were conducted at either the place of employment of each subject or a neutral location based on the participant's preference.METHODSA Heideggerian hermeneutic phenomenologic framework was used during data collection. An unstructured interview process was used to encourage sharing of experiences through narratives. All interviews were audiotaped and transcribed verbatim. As a WOC nurse with 30 years of experience in wound care, the primary investigator logged reflections on the interview process as a valuable source of data analysis. Interpretive analysis involved immersion in the text, data transformation, and thematic analysis.RESULTSEight themes emerged: (1) Essence of Practice; bond of caring; (2) Holistic Approach; putting the pieces of the puzzle together; (3) The Dichotomy... them and me; (4) Art of Wound Care; (5) Growth in Practice; (6) Allure of the Challenge. (7) Acknowledging Limits... you can't always make it better; and (8) Teaching, Mentoring and Being a Role Model.CONCLUSIONSThe narratives illuminate the essence of this nursing specialty practice, whereas the outcome of this research provides a rich description of the human experience of being a WOC nurse engaged in wound care.

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