”Fast forward (and it has been so incredibly fast!) 35 years and I have had such a blessed career. I have had the opportunity to practice and teach in all areas of care: acute care, home care, long-term care, and for the past 14 years, outpatient care, which is so rewarding because you actually get to follow the patients long-term.”
Dot has been a registered nurse for 39 years; 35 of those dedicated to the practice of wound and ostomy care. She has practiced in acute care, home care, and long-term care, spent 7 years in industry, and has practiced in outpatient care since 2001. She has been Board Certified by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Certification Board since 1985 (CWON) and the The American Board of Wound Management since 2004 (CWS). She practices outpatient wound management at Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee, Florida and at Health Central Hospital in Ocoee, Florida.
Dot is the Co-Chair of the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care, was on the founding Board of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care, and held the positions of the first Treasurer and the third President. She is on the faculty of the Wound Certification Prep Course. She has been a member of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society since 1980, the Florida Association for Enterostomal Therapy since 1979, and has held regional board positions with both. She has been a member of the Wound Healing Society since 2008, and is on the Board of Directors for the Wound Reach Foundation. She was one of the founding editors of the journal Today’s Wound Clinic.
Dot is a frequent lecturer on all aspects of wound management, has authored and co-authored many journal articles and 8 book chapters. She is on the speaker’s bureau and Medical Advisory Boards with several manufacturers.
She lives in Orlando, Florida with her dog, Gizmo.
Why Wound Care?
As a very young nurse in 1979, I was standing in the nurse’s station on my unit when our Nursing Director came in and asked if anyone would like to go to a 3-day seminar directed at learning to provide ostomy care to patients. Having no idea what that really was, I volunteered, and it changed my life.
At this conference, for the first time, I was exposed to the nursing specialty of Enterostomal Therapy (now Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing), dedicated to the care, teaching, and rehabilitation of the patient with an ostomy. I returned to Orlando and to my hospital absolutely sure that this was what I was meant to do. When I sought out others in my community in this specialty, I learned that there were only 3 others in the greater Orlando area. I attended my official training program in the fall of 1980, and became the 4th. Now there are probably at least 50 in the area and thousands across the United States.
Around this same time, the companies that provided the products that we used for ostomy care began to slowly bring forward products for the optimal management of open and chronic wounds, and the “ET” nurses were the obvious recipients of this education and product knowledge. Slowly, the wound care part of our specialty began to grow, and I learned I was equally as fascinated with the practice of wound care. I was so blessed early on to be asked to help teach in various capacities in the area of wound care, following in the footsteps of several mentors. For me most notably was Evonne Fowler, RN, MSN, CWOCN, the founder of what is now the largest wound meeting in the United States, The Symposium on Advanced Wound Care.
Fast forward (and it has been so incredibly fast!) 35 years and I have had such a blessed career. I have had the opportunity to practice and teach in all areas of care: acute care, home care, long-term care, and for the past 14 years, outpatient care, which is so rewarding because you actually get to follow the patients long-term. I also spent 7 years working in industry, which helped develop my understanding of the “business” of wound care and healthcare. I’ve written 8 book chapters, many journal articles, and currently spend most of my time traveling and teaching. I am proud to be the Co-Chair of the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care, started so many years ago by my mentor and friend, Evonne Fowler. Wound management in the past 35 years has progressed from just wound “care” to the practice of wound healing, as science has taught us so much about the cellular environment of the wound and the steps required to remove the barriers to healing and prepare the wound bed to heal. We have products and devices that change cellular activity to promote wound repair, something that was unfathomable 35 years ago. Wound healing is a wonderful collaborative practice among nurses, physicians, physical therapists, and many other specialties.
I will likely always work in wound care for as long as I can in some capacity. Wound care is at an exciting time, and I can only imagine what the wound practitioners will have in their tool box even just 10 years from now. One thing is for certain. We need the wound care nurses of tomorrow!