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By Debby Wadsworth, Freelance Writer
When Destinie Woodard was driving to her shift one Thursday evening in April, she didn’t anticipate anything unusual or life-changing. She worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) at a Banner Medical Center. While no shift was ever the same, she could expect a mix of new and established patients, all in stable condition, with each having their own unique needs. “I like that my shifts are never boring!” Woodard said. She loves being a CNA in the hospital, taking care of patients, watching them improve, and making a difference.
Before she left for work, Woodard called the hospital to see if there were any assignment changes. Covid-19 was all over the news, and they already had pandemic patients. Woodard ‘s concern was put to rest when she was told her assignment would be the usual – Outpatient Observation. Besides, pandemic patients were in the Covid-19 Progressive Care Unit (PCU) unit, which is a critical care unit, and one step lower than an Intensive Care Unit (ICU). CNAs were not expected to take care of critical care patients. In fact, “CNAs were not allowed on the Covid-19 unit.” Woodard said. The chance of her having to provide care for pandemic patients was zero.
Upon arriving at the hospital, Woodard was unexpectedly given a life-changing assignment. Woodard was told she had been assigned to the Covid-19 PCU. “They did not tell me until I got there,” Woodard said. “I was shocked.” Until now, CNAs had never been expected to take care of Covid-19 patients.” We had no training in critical care,” Woodard said. Yet she was supposed to do it without hesitation.
Woodard, shaken, listened to the justification. “The nurse said they were short nurses, and needed the CNAs to help with taking vitals, and things like bringing patients’ water,” Woodard said. With no time to sink in, she was taken to the Covid-19 Progressive Care Unit (PCU). “On the way to the unit, they stopped me and asked if I had an N95,” Woodard said. “Then they made me sign my life away.”
The nurse gave “A five-minute rundown on the types of Covid-19 patients, how to put on your mask, and how to take vitals,” Woodard said. Followed by a strict instruction, “Do not go into a room unless you have to.” Woodard felt up to the challenge, but at the same time a bit nervous. “I was not scared, but I was never trained at being on a higher-level unit,” Woodard said.
Initially, over ten patients were assigned to Woodard and her fellow CNA, who had 15 years of experience. They were a combination of Covid-19 and non-Covid-19 patients. “The patients I had ranged from COVID precaution patients to positive. None of them that I had, were on ventilators,” Woodard said. She saw symptoms related to breathing and temperature. “I saw shortness of breath mostly and fever spikes,” according to Woodard. “The patient’s overall were calm and scared at the same time. You can tell they were trying to be calm, but you could see there was obvious discomfort and I saw scared body language.”
Woodard and her coworker were concerned about spreading Covid-19 between patients. Together they approached a nurse about their concerns only to find her upset and crying. The nurse was crying because they were short nurses; she had to take care of two critical care patients at the same time. One had Covid-19 and the other a lung condition. “She (nurse) was scared of giving Covid-19 to the lung patient,” Woodard said.
Woodard calmed her down, they worked out that Woodard would take care of all the Covid-19 patients, and her fellow CNA would provide care for the rest. “I started with five Covid-19 patients, and then more came from the ER,” Woodard said. She turned to her faith in God for strength, bowed her head, and prayed each time she had to enter a patient’s room. “I did not want to bring it home, Woodard explained. “I live in a family of seven.”
The situation brought to her mind an event that had happened in nursing school. It is something she has never forgotten, and described it as follows: “My preceptor (fellow CNA & trainer) was not with me at the time when I went to go say goodbye to my last patient. I was talking to them, and all of a sudden, they stopped responding. I turned my head, and they were having a stroke right there in front of me. It was the first time I have ever witnessed anything like that. I am naturally calm in those situations, and I knew exactly what to do because I was taught well by my preceptor. That experience sticks with me to this day just because it was the first one I ever saw.”
Woodard finished her shift, went home, and thanked God she had survived. “It was an eye-opening experience,” Woodard said. The event gave her new inspiration for her nursing specialty at Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Arizona State University (ASU). She is a nursing student there earning a Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN). “After seeing everything I have seen, I switched from wanting to pursue oncology in the future to now wanting to be a trauma and ICU (Intensive Care Unit) nurse,” Woodard said. “That is so needed right now. I have the courage and passion to put myself in that position.” Woodard said.
Overcoming challenges is not new to Woodard. Over the last few years, she encountered a career-stopping education challenge on her way to applying for nursing school. The problem stemmed from not having passed the required prerequisite classes. “I have been to hell and back, with my education,” Woodard said. “I failed my anatomy and physiology twice, and an advisor told me not to be a nurse. I ended up taking the class a third time at another community college and aced it.”
Woodard’s victory over the pandemic came from her faith and inner strength. She also persevered because of the support, inspiration, and encouragement bestowed upon her. “My mom always said you are going to get in (nursing school),” Woodard said. “They (her mother and father) always told me you can be a nurse, even when I failed the class.” Her godsister, Diamond Zamora, an RN, has also been a source of strength. Zamora’s stories about going to Edson College of Nursing and Health Innovation and working as an RN in Cardiac ICU greatly influenced Woodard’s decision to try health care and become a CNA. Plus, she mentioned one incredibly special professor.
The professor’s name is Deborah Hill, and she was Woodard’s instructor at East Valley Institute of Technology for the CNA program. “She cared about every student and made learning enjoyable,” Woodard said. “The professor (Hill) was the best I ever had.” Things she learned from Hill helped during that one frightful night in April.
Woodard does not regret it happened. For it became an unreplaceable teaching experience. She can draw from it both today as a CNA and in the future as an RN. “I honestly just love being in the hospital,” Woodard said. “I feel in my heart that I belong there, and it just feels right”. Woodard looks forward to becoming an RN, and moving to what she calls, “A higher scope of practice,” She said. “I will be able to do more!”
• An education and certification program for the working professional
• Earn the Vohra Wound Certified Nurse (VWCN™) distinction
• 20 Continuing Nursing Education credits (CNEs)
• Lifetime access to online education modules
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• Access to a professional community of wound physicians, nursing professionals and students
Based on decades of experience, Vohra’s team of specialty wound care physicians developed this practical wound education to help you accelerate your nursing career and deliver better care, regardless of clinical setting. This educational program provides the training needed to properly care for wounds in the geriatric population. Vohra’s physicians know that knowledge, skill and proper training are critical to achieving superior clinical results. We believe every patient, family, nurse, and caregiver can be empowered through education. Hundreds of thousands of people have already benefited from this course and the knowledge we have shared.
The program is offered exclusively online and consists of 11 core modules, 2 bonus modules, individual quizzes, downloadable study guides, and a final exam. The Vohra Wound Care Course is nationally recognized, it is self-paced, and it is the most widely used and least expensive path to wound care certification nationwide.
• Wound Care Certification for facility-based nurses: 13 total modules, 20 ANCC CNE credits,
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The CNE credits earned through the program are approved by the Maryland Nurses Association (MNA) and recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC accreditation signifies that educational activities approved by MNA meet national standards for quality continuing nursing education. Having said that, please note that the state licensing boards of California and Iowa have some exceptions to their acceptance.
• Registered Nurses (RN)
• Licensed Practical Nurses (LPN)
• Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN)
• Nurse Practitioners (NP)
• Physician Assistants (PA)
• Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA)
• Doctors (MD/DO)
• Anyone who wants to learn more about wound care!
Note: Allied health professionals including physicians, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and medical assistants are eligilble to take the course and earn the certification. However, the continuing education credits are only offered to nurses, that includes RNs, LPNs, LVNs, ARNPs.
Wound Care is a highly sought-after competency for nurses practicing in long term care facilities and for home health nurses caring for patients in the home. By completing Vohra’s Wound Care Certification Program, participants take a large step toward becoming wound care experts.
Nurses with a Wound Care Certification can assist physicians and also treat wounds directly, improving patient outcomes significantly. Not only do trained wound nurses help improve patient quality of life, they help nursing facilities and home health agencies minimize the risk of citations and infractions for pressure ulcers. Patients under the care of a certified wound nurse rarely need to leave their regular place of treatment to visit wound care centers or hospitals, where such trips often overexert the patient and are expensive for the facility and payor. Additionally, wound training improves patient outcomes and quality of life, and minimizes the need for costly and often traumatic wound treatment in the long-term. For these reasons and countless others, nurses certified in wound care are a valuable asset to any patient care team.
The Vohra Certification Program for Wound Care focuses on a variety of wound care topics including:
• Acute and Chronic Wounds
• Atypical Wounds
• F686 Regulatory Requirements
• Geriatric Skin Conditions
• Infection Control
• Management & Treatment of Vascular Ulcers
• Support Surfaces
• Wound Care Treatment Options
• Wound Healing
• Wound Rounds & Assessment
• Delayed Wound Healing
• Prevention of Re-hospitalizations
Founded in 2000, Vohra Wound Physicians is the largest wound care specialty practice focused exclusively on the post-acute sector, and the premier provider and employer in wound management. The company employs nearly 300 wound physicians, uses innovative, proprietary technologies, and provides improved wound healing to patients across the U.S.
Vohra delivers comprehensive wound care by offering bedside and telemedicine clinical services, wound dressings, education and wound care certification, and predictive, augmented intelligence driven decision tools. The company provides care to hundreds of thousands of patients annually across 30 states and maintains strong partnerships with nearly 3,000 post-acute care facilities. Supported by proprietary technologies and extensive, ongoing physician training, Vohra delivers results including a 21-day improvement in healing time and an 88% reduction in wound-related hospitalizations.
More information about the company and instructors are here: https://cert.vohrawoundcare.com/about-us/