Mrs Ellen Wilson1, Mr Francis Dignam1
The Intensive Care Unit at the Alfred Hospital, Melbourne undertakes bi-weekly burns dressing changes within the ICU, by its own staff. One third of all burns admissions to the Alfred Hospital are admitted to ICU. This equates to an average of 170 bedside dressing occurrences annually across all percentages of Total Body Surface Area.
To meet the demands of burns patient management and dressing changes, the ICU has developed a local training method for interested staff. Nurses undertake a series of competencies to become proficient in total burns management. Competencies are delivered through a series of Clinical Education Days, supernumerary dressing change exposure, self-directed learning and instructional delivery. Competencies range from patient management and dressing techniques to analgesia and sedation management in the intubated patient. Progression of nursing staff is overseen by an Associate Nurse Unit Manager with an emphasis towards peer to peer education.
Of the 350 ICU nursing workforce, a quarter of nurses are undertaking burns training, graduating one proficient nurse per month. Training ICU nurses in burns management provides an avenue of professional development, has improved wound management across all patient groups and reduced the burden on operating theatre time to compete dressing changes.
Burns Resource Nurse ICU at the Alfred. Graduate Diploma in burns nursing and Graduate Certificate of Intensive Care nursing