Laurie McNichol has been a registered nurse for 37 years. She is a Master’s-prepared gerontological clinical nurse specialist and has a post-Master’s certificate as a geriatric nurse practitioner. She has specialized in the field of wound, ostomy, and continence care (WOC) nursing for 29 years.
Laurie's career as a WOC Nurse has focused on the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries, the care of the ostomy patient with a focus on the prevention of peristomal skin complications, the identification and management of incontinence associated dermatitis, and most recently, the identification, prevention and treatment of medical adhesive related skin injuries. She co-edited a core curriculum textbook on wound care, and has authored a number of book chapters and journal articles on a variety of skin, wound and ostomy ralted topics. She has served as an invited speaker at nursing conferences on six (6) continents as well as numerous venues throughout the United States.
An experienced nurse and nurse leader, Laurie served as the President of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB), President of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN®) and President of the National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel (NPUAP). She continues to be active in these groups leading special projects. She has worked clinically in both the acute and home care settings. Laurie is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and was named Magnet® Nurse of the Year in the category of New Knowledge, Innovation and Improvement.
Why Wound Care?
When I was a nursing student at D’Youville College (Buffalo, NY), one of my clinical rotations was at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (Buffalo, NY). During the course of that experience, I spent several days with an enterostomal therapy (ET) nurse and was amazed at her knowledge of the products and techniques that brought comfort to patients with wounds, ostomies, and fistulae — she was a clinician, consultant, educator, and researcher. I particularly noted her autonomy and the complete confidence others had in her abilities; she was a clinical leader without management or operational responsibilities. I fell in love with the specialty almost immediately.
Six years later, after working in intensive care, open heart, and inpatient hemodialysis units, I found myself at the bedside working with a general surgeon who noted my interest in wounds. He mentioned a specialty for persons with talent and interest in these challenging patient situations. Vowing to become one of them, I accepted a role as an “apprentice” to an ET nurse (now called a wound, ostomy, and continence nurse). Two years later, I attended a certificate program in wound, ostomy, and continence care nursing at Emory University (Atlanta, GA). Since then, I have never considered doing anything else.
My graduate and post-graduate nursing degrees are in the field of gerontology; my specialty of wound, ostomy, and continence nursing is a perfect complement to the care of the aged. I pursued this specialty to make a difference in the lives of persons with chronic wounds (particularly pressure ulcers and lower extremity wounds), ostomies, and people whose quality of life is challenged by continence issues. My satisfaction comes from increasing patient comfort, easing the burdens of caregivers, and improving competence pertaining to my specialty in other providers.