It is very important that nurses have the skills to attend to the wounds of a patient by mastering the skill of wet to dry dressing. Clinical nursing skills can encompass a wide variety of skills in order to help patients. There is no such thing as a small job or responsibility when it comes to nursing because no matter what nurses do, they are helping their patients get well and regain their independence.
There are many medical conditions in which wounds can be the end result. Nurses must always maintain a safe environment in order to prevent the spread of infection.
Introduction on Use of Wet to Dry Dressings
Some wounds heal on their own without the need for dressing to help them heal. Others require a dressing to allow them to heal properly and keep out elements that can cause the wound not to heal properly. The wound’s dressing allows the dead skin cells to collect in the dressing so that the wound can heal effectively. The wet to dry dressing change is an effective way to help wounds heal properly because the process allows a nurse to evaluate the wound for the signs and symptoms of various types of infections. The patient’s doctor will determine a schedule for the changing of wet to dry dressings.
Steps on How to Change Them
- Check the patient’s chart to make sure that a wet to dry dressing is what the doctor requested. Make sure that the change is in accordance with the established schedule.
- Gather the materials needed to perform a wet to dry dressing. The materials include paper tape, sterile gloves, sterile solution, and 4-by-4 gauze. Ensure that all materials are available before moving forward with the process.
- Wash from the fingertips to the elbow using soap and warm water. After thoroughly washing the hands and arms, put on a pair of sterile gloves before beginning.
- Make sure that the patient is comfortable before proceeding. Discuss the process with the patient before beginning, and answer any questions that he or she may have.
- Begin the process of removing the dressing by starting along the edges and bunching the old dressing to the center of the wound. Dressing may be stubborn on severe wounds so it may be necessary to use sterile saline to loosen the dressing. Allow the saline to sit for a while to detach the wound from the dressing before continuing the removal process.
- Thoroughly clean the wound using saline and 4-by-4 gauze. It is important to use a light amount of pressure to the wound so that the new skin is not disturbed while cleaning the area.
- Using a piece of 4-by-4 gauze, lightly pat the wound until dry. Carefully inspect the old dressing, noting the odor, color, and consistency.
- Before applying the new dressing, assess the patient’s wound very carefully. Make note of any signs that the wound is not healing properly.
- Use sterile solution to moisten half of a few pieces of clean 4-by-4 dressing. The number of pieces of sterile gauze depends greatly on the size and severity of the wound.
- Place the moistened gauze directly on the patient’s wound and follow with dry dressing.
- Secure the dressing with paper tape. Evaluate the security of the dressing and apply more tape or gauze as needed.
Tips on Changing a Wet to Dry Dressing
- Maintain a sterile setting by washing hands before and after dressing changes.
- Always check the patient’s charts to ensure the doctor ordered the dressing change. It is possible to cause additional medical issue by applying wet to dry dressing to certain wounds.
- Disposed of all old supplies and dressing in the appropriate areas to maintain a sterile environment.
- Use caution when removing old dressing because a new wound can delay the healing process of an existing wound.
- Any signs of infection, tissue loss, or excessive bleeding should be reported to the physician immediately.
Complications with a Wet to Dry Dressing
Infections can occur in wounds that are not properly dressed. Dressing wounds at times other than those outlined by a physician can lead to infections. Pulling the old dressing that is attached to the skin can result in additional wounds and possibly infections that can prolong the healing process.
Changing wet to dry dressing is a skill that nurses must be proficient in to help their patients. There are so many things that can go wrong in the quick process that can threaten to cause infections in patients. Nurses have the power to help their patients maintain the care of their wounds so that they can heal properly.