Wound care is one of those nursing skills that is important but is frequently applied in a haphazard fashion.

A recent study in the British Journal of Nursing found that cardiac nurses in Irish hospitals had knowledge deficits about wound healing and the signs and symptoms of surgical site infection.

Some nurses were using inappropriate products for cleansing wounds.

A survey of Australian nurses found that just over a third of nurses said that their knowledge of wound products was good or excellent.

One excellent resource that nurses can use to improve wound care practice is wound care specialist nurses.

But not everyone has access to specialist nurses.

A resource that is available to everyone is the Standards for Wound Prevention and Management.

The 2016 version from Wounds Australia is the best available evidence about contemporary wound prevention and management.

Standards such as these ensure that wound care is applied consistently and reduces the potential for variation in practice.

Variations in practice in the past have been as different as using vegemite on a wound, applying oxygen to dry it out, or the use of mercurochrome that obscured the colour of the wound.

None of these practices improved the healing potential of the wound.

In fact, they made it worse.

But the staff who ordered such care were certain that what they were saying was correct.

In many ways, wound care is still stuck in that mindset.

There is still an inconsistency in how wound care is treated with the personal foibles of senior staff with “tried and true” dressing choices being paramount instead of evidence and science.

To learn more about wound care,

Gillespie, Brigid M., et al. “Wound care practices: a survey of acute care nurses.” Journal of Clinical Nursing 23.17-18 (2014): 2618-2627.

Moran N and Byrne G. Assessing knowledge of wound care among cardiothoracic nurses. British Journal of Nursing. 2018 Aug 9;27(15):S33-S42

Wounds Australia. Standards for Wound Prevention and Management. 3rd edition. Cambridge Media: Osborne Park, WA; 2016