Future Burn Nurse?

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    I am beginning a position in the burn unit as a nursing assistant, part-time/permanent (until graduation from nursing school). This type of nursing interests me because it is challenging on several levels: intellectually (important!!), emotionally (also important), and physically (will keep me in shape).

    Anyone out there with experience to share? Are burn unit nurses generally satisfied on personal/financial levels? Is it truly an intellectual challenge, since burns are complex and involve multiple organ systems? Any stories to share? Any techniques/skills recommended? Any readings?

    I hope that someone responds, since there do not seem to be very many burn nurses on this website....
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  3. 8 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    We are a special breed. There is nothing like it in the world, and you will get out of it what you put in. Discharged a patient recently after almost two months who should have died and almost did several times the hug I got as he was walking out the door is why I am a Burn Nurse.
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    REN

    I LOVE working on the burn unit. It is an amazing place. It sounds like this type of nursing is very special to you & rewarding, and that's good to hear! Have you been in the field long? Will you do this until retirement? Any good books or websites you could recommend?
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    I started working in burns in 1995 and loved it, in 1997 I transfered to cardiac ICU because of a conflict with the boss and this year I transfered back as Clinical Director and I love it.
    Information on burns is hard to get, if you study basic wounds and have a good understanding of tissues it will help you understand burns. Have you been to the American Burn Association web site? This list books and places to get info.
    If you join the ABA you also get a subscription to their magazine. One other good place is to can the companies who's burn treatment products you use, they often will send you good reading material if you ask. Hope this helps.
  7. 0
    hey, that's excellent advice - thanks:roll
  8. 0
    Your experiences as a Tech on the Burn unit will be very valuable for you in all aspects of nursing. You will learn impecable infection control, pain control, psyc aspects of patient and family, and how to cope with extensive dressing changes. The burn unit is also frequently overstaffed or closed so you'll get float experience throught the hospital.
  9. 0
    I wish I had visited this site a few weeks ago. I am an oncology nurse who works in a hospital that does not care for burn victims.
    About a month ago a 37 year old man with end stage Lymphoma was admitted with Stevens Johnson syndrome, an auto-immune reaction which caused his skin basically to be burned from head to toe. He was in agonizing pain, peeling and oozing from open areas over his whole body. The worst part was that I knew him fromprevious admissions and had cared for him through chemo (when he was handsome and healthy-looking) and later a chest tube (when he was was thin and clearly had a poor prognosis). His doctors admitted him for comfort measures and basically left the nurses to take care of his skin. I felt so helpless! Each day I would try different skin dressings such as Zeroform and Telfa. We had Dermatology involved and later Plastics, but the whole thing was a disaster! This patient passes away 2 and a half weeks after admission. I want to cry just thinking about it.
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    I did burn nursing and will soon go back. The physiology of it is so intriguing! There is a good deal of emotional baggage because patients may be lost for other reasons totally unrelated to burns, and unexpectedly...pulmonary emboli from leg thrombosis in patient well on the way to recovery, pneumothoraxes from nowhere. A lot of death and dying. A lot of pain management.
    But never boring, and once in a while a patient would make it to rehab and come back and visit, and it was really neat if the initial prognosis was dismal. Chemical and electrical burns are the most challenging, I think, because a lot of the time the extent of tissue damage is not so obvious. And it is fun to scratch a leg or arm no longer there (phantom) on someone that had it blown off when they got tangled up in high wires. It is a fun, exhausting, rewarding specialty, and hope you pursue it.

    Glad2behere
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    I worked at the regional burn unit in Seattle for about 5 years in the '80's. I loved the work. It's complicated but intriuging, at times heartbreaking, but with emotional rewards you can't find elsewhere. I found it to be relatively independent work, despite being on a "burn team" because you do so much hands on and managing of the patient's total care. I found greatly satisfying the acquisition of a "sixth sense" about wounds that came after several years...you could just tell when a graft was going to take and when it wasn't. I'm sure the technology has progressed since I was in the field, but given the opportunity, I would have no qualms about returning. Do you want more info? Feel free to email me at this site.


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