My Scope of Practice: Educator, Entrepreneur
The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled. — Plutarch “Wound and ostomy professionals are a special breed,” says Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOCN, WCC, DWC. “They are amazingly talented and caring. If an individual shares that passion and has a little rush every time he/she sees a patient with a wound or ostomy, it affirms the calling.” Undoubtedly, Nancy has experienced that rush when caring for a patient with a wound or ostomy. But it’s the rush she gets when teaching a colleague something new about wound care that helped her realize her calling as an educator. As one of the founders of the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI), Nancy puts her wound care knowledge, nursing skills, and entrepreneurial spirit to the test every day.
Nancy was 18 years old, working as a home health-certified nursing assistant, when she encountered a patient with a large wound on the sacrum. “I never saw anything like that on a human being,” she says. “I was horrified that a person could have something like this.” She paid special attention to how the home health nurse treated the patient and was amazed when the wound slowly began to heal. “I saw first-hand the special care it took, not only to treat the wound, but also to take care of the whole patient,” she says. After that experience, it was just a matter of time before Nancy became a CWOCN and started caring for wounds full time. She earned her BSN from Lewis University (Romeoville, IL) in 1993, began working at Marianjoy Hospital (Wheaton, IL), and shortly after she became wound-certified. After completing her certification, Nancy became a clinical consultant at Hill-Rom. In this capacity, Nancy and her colleague, Donna Sardina, RN, MHA, WCC, DWC, noticed a critical need for additional wound care experts to care for patients. Eager to fill the void, Nancy and Donna founded Wound Consultants, Inc, a hands-on wound care consulting company. Nancy and Donna were unable to handle the huge number of requests they received to provide consultations. It became clear that what patients needed were more trained wound care professionals. Creating an organization that would provide wound care education to healthcare professionals was a logical step in that direction. The demand for services, including education among healthcare professionals, was high. The result was the creation of the Wound Care Education Institute®. “We developed a comprehensive course in skin and wound management, focusing on the bedside practitioner’s need for knowledge that can be immediately used to improve wound care outcomes for their patients,” Nancy says of the WCEI programs. “We made a commitment to multidisciplinary education early on because wound prevention and treatment often comes from the combined efforts of many disciplines.” Nancy spread the word about the WCEI through social media marketing and by attending professional conferences. Because the Institute appreciated the importance of certification to the credibility of the course and value to the student, WCEI worked with the National Alliance of Wound Care® (NAWC) to develop the certification process. “For 10 years, the WCEI has provided wound care certification information,” Nancy says. “Because of our reputation, expertise, and delivery model, our certification partner, NAWC, has chosen our group for education associated with their other specialized wound care certifications in Diabetic Wound Care (DWC)® and Lower Extremity Lymphedema Management (LLE)SM. We are working closely with NAWC to identify additional opportunities to meet the growing demand for education on wound and ostomy care.” With wound care education constantly evolving and the success of the WCEI continuing to grow, Nancy spends most of her time striving to stay on top of what clinicians need to know in order to deliver the best care to patients. This involves keeping up-to-date on new product technology, reimbursement issues, and research. Helping patients has always been a priority for Nancy, and the desire to help as many as possible has fueled her entrepreneurship. As a nurse from a small town in the Midwest, Nancy was only able to help a small number of patients in her region, but with the creation of the WCEI, her reach is literally endless. “It is incredibly rewarding to know we are teaching thousands of clinicians, who then go back and make a difference in the lives of their patients,” Nancy says. She urges those she educates to take a collaborative approach to wound and ostomy management and to always keep the patient perspective in mind. “I see myself as working to make it easier for bedside clinicians to shine, feel proud of who they are, and exceed wound care goals in their practice settings,” Nancy says. To wound, ostomy, continence nurses, Nancy says, “Follow your dream and get involved in the lives of your patients with challenging conditions. They will inspire you to obtain the needed education and training to grow in this field and make a much needed difference.” Patients aren’t the only ones who inspire healthcare professionals to advance their wound care knowledge. People like Nancy continue to kindle the spark that encourages many clinicians to get the education they need to advance their scope of practice. This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.