Career Profiles:
Diane Wood, RPN

Diane Wood has been a nurse nearly 30 years. She has devoted her life to patients who require unique and complex care.

Diane works full-time at the Brant Community Healthcare System (BCHS) in Brantford, Ontario. The Brant Community Healthcare System is an acute care hospital, providing care to a diverse age spectrum – from infants to geriatrics and everyone in between. Presently, Diane is an RPN on the Complex Care Integrated Program (CCIP) unit and one of the nurses specializing in wound care, as both a diabetes expert and stoma specialist.

Diane’s passion is wound care. She works closely with her patients to develop the effective, patient-focused treatment plans with her high-quality wound care expertise that promotes the healing of complex wounds. Her passion for wound care comes from seeing the healing process of a wound, and from being a part of her patients’ journeys to achieve optimal health. As a wound care expert, Diane feels a responsibility to take an active role in promoting wound healing and helping her fellow colleagues to understand the process of caring for wounds.

Diane’s role as a wound-care nurse includes responsibilities that such as providing education and clinical support in managing wounds to all new staff and students. She works closely with interdisciplinary team members to provide patient-focused care, which includes medication, treatments, and advocacy for patients. She cares for a wide variety of patients at the Brantford Community Healthcare System from all walks of life.

Diane graduated as a Registered Nurse Assistant from Fanshawe College (St. Thomas campus) in 1984. She later became a RPN and is a lifelong learner as evidenced by her completing courses from Mohawk College, Conestoga College, and Cambrian College. Diane has also taken an Inter-Professional Interdisciplinary Wound Care course (IIWC) from the University of Toronto in 2007. She has extensive knowledge in wound care as she has taken different levels of wound care courses from the Canadian Association of Wound Care (CAWC), and she plans to continue with a master’s program in advanced wound care.

Diane took an interesting route to her current work. She had worked as a night shift charge nurse at a local long-term care facility in the 1990’s and she worked as a staff nurse at Victorian Order of Nurses (VON). In addition, she spent five years at Manitoulin Health Centre from 1994 to 1998. There, she was a part of the Northern Diabetic Health Network, and provided diabetic education to clients in seven different locations in one-on-one and group settings. She worked as a staff nurse at Manitoulin Health Centre, at the Minemoya site and the Willett hospital, and finally settled in as a wound care nurse at the Brantford Community Healthcare System in a CCIP unit. She is a founding member of the wound care resource team for that entire organization since its inception 12 years ago.

Diane is involved in an RPNAO Leadership/Clinical Practice Fellowship project in wound care. She said that it has provided her with opportunities to further grow and develop her skills in this specialized role and share her expertise in demonstrating basic prevention techniques to others. For her, it is a wonderful way to enhance patient care by helping other care providers to make a difference for patients with her wound care knowledge and skills. As a wound care expert, much of her knowledge has been learned from CAWC courses, seminars, and her preceptor. She acknowledges that her many years of experience, knowledge, and skills gained along the way have led her to where she is today.

Diane views her contribution in supporting patient care as successful, because as a member of the wound resource team in the hospital, she and other colleagues can screen the high-risk patients for developing wounds and apply the appropriate interventions to prevent wounds from starting. She loves her job and she admits that she would like to be able to spend more time, focusing on each individual client.

We have many reasons that prompt us to do what we do – these reasons are important as they reflect our values and beliefs. For Diane, the reason is very simple: as a healthcare provider, she said that making a difference in her patients’ lives motivates her to do what she does today. Most of all, a simple smile on her patients’ faces is the highest reward for having impacted their lives in a positive way. Diane says that making a difference in patients’ lives by helping them in their journeys is one of the most gratifying aspects of her nursing career.

Diane’s is a passionate nurse who believes strongly in patient advocacy. She said that she once had cared for an elderly gentleman who suffered from a severe ulcer on his foot. The gentleman was upset because the doctor wanted to amputate his foot. He told Diane that he did not want to die without his foot. He also let her know that he worked hard to raise his family, survived World War II, and came home with two feet from World War II. Diane was sensitive to the distress of her patient and had a commitment to do something for her patient. Diane provided a suggestion to the doctor that they might try one more treatment—negative pressure therapy—with the patient before amputating his foot. Diane was able to advocate for her patient by trying negative pressure therapy, and the treatment turned out to be effective for him after a short period of time, her patient’s foot began to heal. After a few months, her patient passed way because of other health problems, but he had died the way he came into the world: with both feet. Diane agreed that this life-changing experience put her on the path that led her to what she is doing today.

Diane’s years of hard work and perseverance for towards excellent patient-centred care have been recognized with various awards. This year, she received the RPNAO Award of Excellence and Innovation as she has made special contributions to practical nursing and patient care daily. Her peers described her as an exceptional nurse who not only possesses knowledge in wound care, but also embraces new challenges and change with innovative strategies. In addition, BCHS recognized her outstanding contributions with a Nursing Excellence Award in leadership for wound care in 2002. In 2006 and 2009, she also received a Nursing Excellence Award for teamwork, and she received a Nursing Excellence Award for education in 2007. Diane received a Ladies’ Home Craft Division Award from the Paris Agriculture Society in 2010.

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