My Scope of Practice: Inside HBOT: A Nurse’s Story
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What I know is, is that if you do work that you love, and the work fulfills you, the rest will come. - Oprah Winfrey
Megan Benson, RN, BSN, is the Safety Director of a wound care center recognized for superb clinical outcomes and patient satisfaction. Within the past 2 years, she became an hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) nurse, proud and eager to be a productive member of her Center of Distinction healthcare team.
A 1996 graduate of West Chester University (West Chester, PA), Megan began her career in a skilled nursing facility where she was responsible for nearly 40 patients. A few years (and three babies later), Megan joined one of the med-surg units at The Chester County Hospital (TCCH, West Chester, PA) as well as the orthopedic/med-surg/trauma/telemetry unit at Paoli Hospital (Paoli, PA) and continued to seek new opportunities within the field. When she learned about the HBOT department at TCCH, she took a training program provided by Diversified Clinical Services, Inc., Introduction to HBO and Problem Wound Management for Physicians and Clinicians. By 2009, Megan officially began to practice as a HBOT nurse in TCCH’s wound care center.
TCCH’s wound center is an outpatient site on the hospital campus; the center has 12 employees, six wound treatment rooms, and one large HBO suite with one Sechrist (Anaheim, CA) chamber. The facility can accommodate a second chamber, hopefully acquired in the near future. Dr. Martye Marshall serves as the center’s Medical Director; Andrew Fazio, Diversified Clinical Services (Jacksonville, FL), manages the center; and Denise Paoline, RN, BSN, CWS, is the clinical leader. Megan’s practice environment and colleagues provide great job satisfaction. “The nurses I work with are a phenomenal group of people,” she says. “They make each work day special. They are extremely competent and efficient and help create a comfortable and warm atmosphere at the center.”
During Megan’s first month of service, the center was presented the Robert A. Warriner, MD Award of Excellence from Diversified Clinical Services. “I had no idea I had been invited to be a part of such an exceptional team,” she says. “I quickly realized there is much work involved in maintaining what they already achieved. I made up my mind early on to work smarter and become a contributing factor to my team’s perpetual success. I wanted to contribute as much as possible.”
In 2010, the center received the “A Center of Distinction” recognition from Diversified, underscoring the qualifications and diligence of the care team. Megan is a humble witness to the care provided every patient and grateful that the center’s efforts have been recognized.
Megan was appointed Safety Director in July 2009. In her current role, Megan is responsible for educating and interacting with patients and maintaining relationships with state and county officials. Some of her daily responsibilities include addressing basic safety issues of the center, staying abreast of codes for the state and county as they pertain to hyperbarics, identifying safety issues in addition to correcting them, participating in monthly inservice training with the entire wound care staff, and educating patients and their loved ones on HBOT and its possible side effects. “I spend 3 hours a day for nearly 2 months with each of my patients,” Megan says. “HBOT is a slow process, but I see how much it changes patient lives. Numerous patients said they thought they had to live with their difficult symptoms and pain. Some were told there was nothing more that could be done for them. When these patients begin to see progress, I am overwhelmingly grateful.