The Australian College of Nursing’s Nursing in the Community Week aims to raise awareness of how nurses can support our community to stay safe at home, wherever that is. This year, the activities will support nurses in having “A Voice to Lead”, in discussion of topical areas affecting nurses working in our communities. To mark the week, we will be sharing stories of nurses working to support the community stay safe on our NurseClick blog. We encourage you to Download this poster or banner to share with your colleagues or at your workplace.
Today, we share the story of Ruth Timmins from valued sponsor of the week Smith + Nephew.
I trained as a Registered Nurse in Birmingham in the UK from 1986-1989, and most of my clinical experience has been in Community Nursing and Practice Nursing. This gave me valuable experience and insights into the essential role of Community Nurses in delivering nursing care in the home and aged care setting.
I later specialised in Practice Nursing working for over 15 years in this area, and thoroughly enjoyed working in Primary Care as it was so diverse and challenging. I enjoyed my role caring for patients from all ages and backgrounds. Every day was different and varied, ranging from running baby clinics, chronic disease management clinics, women’s health and wound care as a few examples. I found this to be a rewarding career and I developed my clinical experience across many areas of health care.
I emigrated to Australia 12 years ago and in 2010 I started working in the health care industry as a Senior Clinical Specialist in Skin and Wound care covering Australia and New Zealand. Much of this role included developing and facilitating hands-on training workshops and education programmes for health care professionals. I then started working for Smith + Nephew three and half years ago as the Senior Clinical Specialist in Advanced Wound Management, also across Australia and New Zealand.
My current role at Smith +Nephew is also varied and extremely rewarding as the challenge of managing wounds is such an important area of health care. We provide education around many wound types, both acute and chronic wounds and across all health care settings including community, aged care, hospital, primary care, and pharmacy. We provide best practice education on key areas such as Skin tears, Burns, surgical incisions, Venous Leg ulcers, Diabetic Foot Ulcers and infection management. Preventing and managing wounds such as Pressure injuries and maintaining skin integrity is also an important area that we focus on.
Part of my role is to develop and facilitate programmes to provide education and resources related to best practice and evidence -based wound care for Nurses and other Health Care Professionals. We often work with International and local wound and subject matter experts to provide the latest information and resources. We deliver this education through face -to- face seminars, forums, conferences, symposiums and partner with professional associations such as the Australian College of Nursing (ACN) to support their campaigns and education.
An example of this was the recent ACN Aged Care webinar, as part of their Nursing in the Community week, where we were able participate and provide education about Pressure Injuries and Incontinence Associated Dermatitis (IAD) in the community setting. The recent ‘Wound Awareness Week’ coordinated by Wounds Australia, is another important campaign to raise awareness. We were able to support this initiative with a virtual Wound Symposium.
Virtual learning of course has been particularly important in the last 18 months since the pandemic has limited face- to- face activities, and we have adapted to meet the ongoing needs to continue to provide important education opportunities through these digital platforms with webinars, podcasts and speed learning modules
It’s great to be part of the wider team at Smith+ Nephew and we are all passionate about wound care. Alongside our customers we won’t settle until we have solved the challenges of preventing and healing wounds, because they hold back too many lives.
Wounds are a significant health issue and every year over 420,000 people in Australia suffer from a Chronic wound, costing health care budgets over $3 billion a year.1 The impact of wounds therefore can be an enormous burden to the individual, as well as on healthcare resources. Nurses working in the Community setting are so often at the forefront of caring for patients with wounds every day, and we feel it’s very important to highlight and support this essential work. Community Nurses provide important ongoing care and clinical expertise for those who are living with wounds, which is so often a chronic, painful and long-term burden for patients and their loved ones.
My role is very rewarding and it’s a privilege to support Community Nurses to achieve better outcomes for their patients through our education, resources and innovative product solutions.
At Smith+Nephew we have clinical educators who have Nursing or Allied Health experience and provide education and training for wound management. Our clinical staff are located across our offices in Australia and New Zealand. See more information at the Smith+Nephew website.
The Australian College of Nursing would like to thank Smith + Nephew for their support of Nursing Community Week, along with our Partner the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association, Founding sponsor Regal Home Health and sponsor MediBank.
1.Pacella RE, et al. Solutions to the chronic wounds problem in Australia: a call to action. Wound Practice and Research 2018;26(2):84-98.