Matthew Dutton

MPhil candidate

What is the state of knowledge into role, context of practice and the impact of the wound care nurse (how so ever titled)?

Supervisors: Mary Chiarella and Kate Curtis

In order to meet the need for expert wound care advice, the Wound Care Clinical Nurse Consultant position has evolved in the Australian healthcare system. Overseas health care systems have had a similar evolution, although the nomenclature may differ. The position may be variously described as: Tissue Viability Nurse, Wound Ostomy Nurse or Wound Certified Nurse. However, in the Australian context, there is still the need to identify exactly what this field encompasses or the expectations of what this position should/could entail. Although all positions have common tasks and obligations, the differences among various institutions lead to individual roles following diverse pathways with differences in responsibility. The international literature describes the role and benefits of nurse-led wound resource teams and clinics, such as the potential to prevent wound deterioration and subsequent hospitalisation through timely care. However, there is a paucity of evidence exploring the impact of a wound care nurse position.

Aim of the Study

The aim of this study is examine and define the state of knowledge into the role, context of practice and impact of the Wound Care Clinical Nurse (CNC).

This exploration and definition will examine specifically, but will not be limited to:

  1. The population the role serves
  2. The wound types cared for; and
  3. The consultation and educational support provided

Australia is currently experiencing an increase in the aging population, a group that is considered to be more susceptible to injury and age-related pathological changes that lead to open wounds and delayed healing . With an increase in life expectancy, it can be predicted that there will be an increase in wounds among the elderly,
requiring more wound care resources across all states and territories. Furthermore, people with chronic wounds
represent a significant and costly clinical problem in the modern healthcare environment. Whilst the role of Wound Care Clinical Nurse Consultant has evolved to meet this need, there is a paucity of literature around the nature and impact of the role both locally and internationally.