Wound Management instructor Misty Stephens (left, pictured with her husband) shares career advice, explains how she became a specialist wound care nurse only after her first career as a professional ballerina, and reveals the superpower she'd like to have.
1. How did you get started in wound care?
I was working as a trauma nurse. After the birth of my third child and a long string of four night shifts, I fell asleep on the patient waiting area couch before I left to go home. Our ostomy nurse came by and woke me, and jokingly told me that as I'd seen it all, and had no fears of blood and gore after working in trauma, that maybe I should become a wound care nurse. Within the month, I had researched it and applied to a specialist program. It seemed like the perfect fit.
2. What profession would you have chosen, if not health / clinical care?
Well, as this is my second career, I'm not sure I would have chosen anything else. My first career was dancing for the Royal Ballet, which I did until I finished nursing school at the age of 27. Being a ballerina, you work in a cut-throat world, so the team-building and autonomy of nursing gives me freedoms and confidence I never had before.
3. If you could have a super power, what would it be?
Telepathy. To be able to communicate with all beings around the world would fascinate me. I would spend hours listening to people's stories about their lives.
4. What do you like about teaching?
I like that I learn something new each time I teach a course. I also like it when the students have that "aha" moment and you can see when the learning becomes contextual and applicable to practice. I also love being able to share the little “pearls” that make our jobs easier and more enjoyable.
5. What would be your dream vacation?
My dream vacation is to visit Europe for six months and just immerse myself in all the cultures ... live, listen, taste. I would start in Greece and just travel from country to country.
6. What do you like the most about working in health care?
The connections with people; with clients and nurses and allied heath professionals, everyone has so much to give to each other. I like being able to improve the quality of life for people. Even if I can not fix the problem, there is always a way I can help them to live better.
7. Which famous person (from any time period) would you like to have dinner with?
Winston Churchill. I think he was such an astonishing influencer, with brilliant ideas to bring in new eras and improve quality of life for the people that he led.
8. Any career advice for health professionals who are interested in specializing in wound care?
Wound care does not have a mathematical equation that you can use to solve the problem. There are many ways to help improve a wound and to help it heal. Sometimes it is about trial and error. We cannot always be perfect; a wound is ever-changing and evolving, and so should your care plans. Be present with your clients and ALWAYS explain what you are doing and why. Knowledge is empowerment and if that is what you can do for your clients, then give them the power of understanding their own health care.
Misty Stephens will be teaching Wound Management for Health Professionals Level II in April 2020.