”As a wound care nurse, you can impact the lives of patients one at a time and sometimes you have the chance to change history. Either way, actively participating in the management of a patient’s wound, or being part of any type of Wound Care Team (however you define it) is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my entire life.”
Dr. Stewart is presently an adjunct assistant professor at the SUNY at Buffalo and the subject matter expert for the Pressure Ulcer Team for the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
He earned his undergraduate degree in in premed (Daemen College). After attending 2 years in Medical School he earned his Doctorate in Biophysics (Physiology) from SUNY at Buffalo and is an alumnus of its School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. After an NIH post-doctoral fellowship at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, NY) he was enticed to join Gaymar Industries to manage their Clinical Research group with the understanding that he could continue to hold an academic appointment at the SUNY at Buffalo.
Dr. Stewart has held various executive positions in the Medical Device Industry over the past 35 years (1981-2011) while still maintaining an active academic career; most recently VP Clinical Affairs, Stryker Medical Division; President & CCO Gaymar Industries. He left Stryker in 2011 and began his own consulting business.
His clinical and scientific areas of expertise include, wound healing physiology, wound pathophysiology, wound biophysics, support surface performance & design, thermal physiology, and lesions acquired during operating room/ hospital stays. He has been studying the management and treatment of pressure injuries and related wounds for the last 35 years. Some of his research interests include support surface optimization for pressure redistribution and microclimate; algorithms for support surface selection; description of deep tissue injury; skin injury at life’s end and updating staging of pressure injuries from the present 4 stage numerical system. Dr. Stewart serves as an Expert witness in pressure ulcer and wound care litigation
He has authored over 30 articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has written a book chapter on Support Surfaces. In 1987 he founded the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP), and in 2003, was the recipient of the Panel’s first “Thomas Stewart Founder’s Award”. He is an Editorial Board member and Department Editor for WOUNDSand has organized and participated in various Consensus Panels on key topics in Wound Care.
In June of 2008, Dr. Stewart was awarded a Life Time Achievement Award from the World Union of Wound Healing Societies (WUWHS). In October of 2009 he was appointed by NY State’s Governor to the Board of the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. He is a 2010 Inductee into the NY State Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities’ Hall of Distinction. He is an invited speaker at conferences nationally and internationally.
Why Wound Care?
Unfortunately, I have a great disadvantage when compared to my fellow Board Members because not only am I not a Wound Care Nurse, I am not even a Nurse! In both my Medical School and Graduate training I learned very little about wounds and wound healing let alone anything about their treatment. However in 1981 I had to learn very quickly everything there was to know about wounds and pressure ulcers. I quickly discovered, after reading everything I could, that the greatest resources of knowledge in the early 80’s were something called ET’s and ET (Enterostomal) Nurses (Wound Care Nurses). If it hadn’t been for the ET Nurses I would have been totally lost. And fortunately for me I was able to meet and learn from many of the top ET nurses from around the country. They were very caring people not only for their patient’s but for people like me: ignorant of the basic tenets of wound management but willing to learn. After absorbing as much knowledge as I could from the ET Nurses and others over a number of years, they taught me that a multidisciplinary management of wounds was probably needed with leadership coming from the Wound Care Nurse.
That led me (in the early-to-mid 1980’s) to assemble a faculty of clinicians and researchers to travel to major Metropolitan areas in the US where they presented at a daylong conference on Pressure Ulcer Prevention and Treatment (under the sponsorship of Gaymar Industries). Wound Care Nurses were on the original Faculty. These were purely educational events and attendees were awarded CEU’s for attendance. As a result of these conferences and feedback from the attendees and faculty it became clear that a National Standard of Care was required for Pressure Ulcers. In 1987 we founded the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). I drew on the conference faculty to serve on the original panel and help promulgate the first “guidelines” or tenets for Pressure Ulcers. A prominent Wound Care Nurse (ET) was a Founding Member of the NPUAP. In 1989 under the direction of Dr Roberta Abruzzeese and Louise Colburn RN, MSN, the NPUAP sponsored its 1st Consensus Conference on Pressure Ulcers. Wound Care Nurses were an integral part of this Consensus Conference. The NPUAP has gone on to accomplish many tremendous goals since its founding in the late 80’s. I can honestly say the NPUAP owes its very existence to the training and active participation of Wound Care Nurses. So Wound Care Nurses have had an impact on individual patients through the care they offer and in the consultations and training they provide. They also have the opportunity to affect the care of many patients by sharing their unique findings at conferences and symposia. So, Why Wound Care? As a Wound Care Nurse, You can impact the lives of patients one at a time and sometimes you have the chance to change history. Either way, actively participating in the management of a patient’s wound, or being part of any type of Wound Care Team (however you define it) is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my entire life and I have Wound Care Nurses to thank for my early education. I will continue to encourage Nurses to look at this Career pathway as a one that will not only offer them great satisfaction but great rewards on many levels.