Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dressing Changes for the Burn Ward Rounds

         This morning we went into the hospital early to help with dressing changes for the burn patients. This procedure can be very painful because the sisters have to take off old gauze, clean the wound, and sometimes cut off loose skin. On Wednesdays the doctors have to do their ward rounds so this means all of the patients (both inpatient and outpatient) have to get their dressings unwrapped then rewrapped in clear plastic (that looks like serran-wrap) before 8:30/9:00 am when the doctors come around.
Even though I have helped with dressing changes once or twice before this morning was quite a shock. The sisters were moving soooo fast and at times there were up to 3 patients in the same treatment room.
            Right now the burn ward is in a temporary space in the hospital while the permanent ward is having some construction. This means the newly regular treatment room (that was recently painted to look more child-friendly) is not in use. Instead they are using what looks like a big storage closet with a sink and some counters. It was great to be able to be there and help the kids cope, but it also really opened my eyes to how under resourced the hospital is. The treatment tub looks old and dirty, and in between each patient they pour a bottle of sanitizer on it and place a large napkin over the spot where the child sits. They use the same scissors and tools for each patient, and these tools sit in a tub full of soap when not in use.
            However, as awful as my description of the room sounds, the sisters all seem to make it work and are good at what they do. They are super speedy; in fact they must have done 20 dressing changes in an hour and a half this morning. I was however caught a little off guard when they asked me to help with the dressing changes. I had to help rewrap the wounds and everything, maybe I should have gone for my nursing degree before coming here.
            I hope they move back into the actual burn ward before I leave, I’d love to see how everything works in their typical space.  

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