Welcome to my first dermatology blog. After being invited to write it I found myself reflecting on my dermatology career and why dermatology is such a special and fascinating area to work in. The skin is the largest organ of the body and one we all see on a daily basis but why is it not always given the importance it deserves. The skin tells a story about our patient’s health and well-being and we can instantly see changes in our patients. Early in my dermatology career I can still remember a young woman telling me how it felt to live with a skin condition and the stigma she had experienced:
“ When you meet people for the first, what do they see but the surface covering? When you go shopping you wouldn’t buy anything that is ripped or dented- you would look for good quality packing. Well that’s what it feels like. People see psoriasis and step back”
25 years on have things changed? I would say not. As a society we are even more focused on how we look and are seen by others. Through the years many dermatology units and wards were separated from other areas of health care in case they caught something from our patients and I can remember vividly a patient on the dermatology ward telling us the reason his skin condition was not improving was because he had no bath and was only allowed into the public baths in Nottingham at the end of the day when there was no hot water and it could be cleaned after he had used it. So reflect on what you learnt about the skin in your training did it equip you to care for your patients, assess their skin and know what is normal or not? I suspect not ! I hope my blogs will question, challenge and equip you to look at the skin very differently when caring for your patients and if they also have a skin condition that they “feel safe secure accepted and informed about their condition (our nursing philosophy)”. Recently when asking the mother of a 5 year old what her expectations of our consultation were she said: “for her daughter to be invited to birthday parties at school as she had eczema and was never invited “ I wish this stories were not common place and the words“its only eczema” were not used when health care professionals meet my families. Lets all make a difference to our patients and their families, skin disease in the community accounts for 24% of consultations and should not be trivialised.
Sandra Lawton and Stuart Thompson-McHale are the expert bloggers for the Nursing in Practice dermatology and wound care resource centre. They work together as expert bloggers; Sandra Lawton produces all dermatology blogs while Stuart writes the wound care pieces.
Dermatology: Sandra Lawton
OBE, MSc, RGN, OND, RN Child (Diploma), ENB 393, QN
Sandra Lawton is the blogger for the Nursing in Practice dermatology and wound care resource centre; her focus is dermatology.
You are currently leaving the Nursing in Practice site. Are you sure you want to proceed?