Why I Made The Decision To Specialize In Wound Care
- Desmond Bell DPM CWS FACCWS
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Welcome to my new blog. I am honored to share information, insights and ideas with my colleagues. It is my hope that by sharing my experiences with the readers of Podiatry Today, you will be encouraged and inspired in your efforts when treating patients affected with wounds of varying etiologies.
One of the most appealing aspects that led me to a career in podiatry was the fact that our profession offers a wide range of areas where our services are needed. I was drawn to orthopedics after I spent time in the operating room as an account executive for a major orthopedic manufacturer. Being a longtime lover of sports, I believed I would focus my career path on working with athletes. I also enjoyed working with older adults. At one time, I had also considered pediatrics as a possible specialty. During my years as a podiatry student, I gained further appreciation for dermatology and pathology.
During the early days of my solo practice, I followed the traditional “podiatric model.” I treated pathology ranging from fungal infections, sprains and strains to pediatrics and geriatrics. It was not long before I came to the realization that I enjoyed wound care and limb preservation more than any aspect of podiatric medicine. I also came to the realization that I could not be all things to all people. A few years into practice, I made the decision to specialize in wound management and refer all other patients to my colleagues.
Two observations fueled this decision.
One, the mix in the waiting room of chronic wound patients and general podiatric patients was not good.
Two, the time I spent working with general podiatric patients meant time away from my wound patients, with whom I received the most personal satisfaction.
The need and gratification I felt when working with patients with chronic wounds was apparent. It made my decision to refer all my established general patients to colleagues the right decision.
That being said, here are a few points regarding wound care and the important role podiatrists hold.
• Wound care is not glamorous.
• It is not as simple as applying a dressing or prescribing an antibiotic.
• Treating wounds successfully or preventing a lower extremity amputation can be among the most rewarding aspects of practice.
• Patients with wounds often are time intensive and may become “speed bumps” in your waiting room. This could cause frustration for other patients and your staff, especially when things get backed up. Fair or not, general patients may resent waiting for a seemingly simple treatment. They may not appreciate both the delay and if you spend less time treating them versus a patient with a wound.
• If you do not particularly enjoy wound care, why not consider a referral to a wound center or a colleague who does? Dabbling in wound care puts you at greater medical-legal risk, puts your patients at greater risk of complication and only fuels a deeper resentment for all involved.
• Your role on the wound care team is critical, whether you are an active participant or the front line member of the team who recognizes the need to make a referral to the appropriate provider. Whichever role you find yourself in, always let the welfare of the patient be your primary motivation.
I look forward to your comments and thank you for reading. Keep up the great work. Your efforts touch many.