How did you start in Burns?

  1. Hi all,

    So for a while now, I was a bit all over the place with knowing what field I wanted to work in. (I am currently a senior nursing student). I have always loved wounds and worked in an outpatient wound clinic. When I had my ICU rotation, I loved it, but didn't want to leave my wounds. While learning material for burns for an exam, I researched more and really realized that burn nursing is something that I want to pursue.

    What track did you take coming out of nursing school to get to the position of a burn nurse? Is there a certain floor you think would give you the right amount of exposure and experience before working at a burn center? If you have any certifications that you believe are helpful as well, what are they?

    Thanks in advance!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Cat365
    I'm not in that field, but I would think wound care and ICU experience would both be benificial.
  4. by   marienm
    Check out this discussion for some thoughts (including mine):

    Hopeful future Burn Nurse

    How did *I* start on a burn unit? I was a new grad, I wanted to start in an ICU, my local teaching hospital/level 1 trauma center hires new grads, I applied, and they hired me. I live in a state where an ADN is all that's required, though we're encouraged to get a BSN. I live in a relatively low-income region...I think a lot of people put in a few years in the ICU and head off to CRNA school or whatever they've been dreaming of. That wasn't ever my goal (not that there's anything wrong with it) and I've stayed with my unit since I was hired.

    Personally, I'm not sure I would have "made it" as a floor nurse. I think it would be great experience, but I'm grateful I didn't have to go that route. Burns in my hospital fall under the overall auspices of the Surgery department (vs the Medicine) department, so I'd guess that starting on a surgical floor (if you can't or don't want to start in an ICU) would be helpful. You'll probably get a good number of wounds there, too--surgical wounds, ostomys, infected chronic wounds, etc... I don't actually think that burns are very similar to any other wounds like the type I mention above--you'll need to learn the burn assessment and wound care practiced at the center where you work, but the surgical background will still help you.

    My hospital didn't require any certifications (other than BLS) when they hired me. They have all their ICU RNs become ACLS certified after a few months of practice, and they have all the Burn RNs do the ABLS class (which, honestly, is more designed for hospitals that don't have burn units, but it's a good class). We're encouraged to pursue further degrees, get our CCRN, etc... I will point out that I'm not in an ABA-verified burn center, but we do take patients from a large geographic area. My unit only cares for adults, but pediatric burns go to the children's hospital and are managed by the same surgical team.
  5. by   WestCoastSunRN
    I came to burns after doing 10+ years in other ICUs. I really love critical care nursing, but was wanting to expand that. What I love about burns is that I get to do ICU, peds (I didn't do peds before), wound care and step down patients, too! My unit takes all ages and we typically keep our patients their whole hospital stay (ICU----> step down------> discharge). I work in an ABA verified burn center. I am ACLS and PALS certified and will begin studying for my CCRN soon. I don't have the ABLS cert, but they like us to have it so I'll probably be getting that soon. We do community outreach as well. I'm new to burns but I think I'm going to be very happy I made the transition as I still get to do critical care.
    As far as the best path to employment at a burn center? If you can do your senior practicum in one, that would be great. My place likes critical care nurses but will hire med-surg with the idea of putting them through a CC residency -- as ideally all of our nurses would be able to care for any of our patients. Wound care experience is great, too, as a some centers do other wound care like necrotizing faciitis, etc.
  6. by   phoenixrn
    I was hired as a new grad into a hospital that has an ABA certified ICB. I was hired onto the "ortho/neuro" med surg unit. In addition to ortho/spine patients, we would see cosmetic plastics patients, and step down patients from the ICB. I was probably the ONLY one out of all of my colleagues that didn't ***** and moan about taking care of the burn patients. Also I was one of the only ortho nurses that got along with the burn surgeons, some who actively tried to recruit me. I also got close with several of the ICB charge nurses by frequently soliciting their advice and being receptive to education. Oh..... and the patients..... If I worked a four or five day stretch.... man, we would turn and burn the ortho patients but maybe I'd have one or two burn patients for the whole stretch. I LOVED talking with them, hearing their stories, talking with them through their trauma and experience.... some of my ortho colleagues could barely look them in the eye. Needless to say, once I transferred (after 4 years on ortho), then I got really hooked.

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