“Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it, and give birth to it.” — Eckhart von Hochheim (aka Meister Eckhart), German theologian, philosopher, and mystic (c. 1260 – c. 1327)
According to Vicki Fischenich, RN, MSN, GNP-BC, WCC, “Never be the person who is not willing to change or consider new possibilities — no matter what expertise you might have, there is always room for improvement.” As the current Director of Clinical Affairs at OSNovative Systems, Inc (Santa Clara, CA), Vicki constantly contemplates avenues to improvement. Whether conducting clinical trials or providing customer education, communication, and support, the goal is to improve wound care outcomes.
Vicki started her career after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Radiology Technology from Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, TX). After graduation, the Radiology manager of the hospital where she completed her student clinical requirements recommended her for a position in the newly constructed Heart Catheterization Lab where the duties and responsibilities of the nursing staff piqued her interest. She spent the next 15 years in different areas in Radiology, including computer tomography, nuclear medicine, and magnetic resonance, but she maintained her fascination with nursing. In 2004, Vicki was ready to make the transition. She earned her degree from Texas Tech Health Science Center School of Nursing (Lubbock, TX) in 2006 and proceeded directly to graduate school in the Geriatric Nurse Practitioner Program, which she completed in 2009.
During her second (and last) year in the BSN program, Vicki chose wound care as her elective option for independent study. “I followed a close friend and rehab physician specializing in wound care at the Southwest Regional Wound Care Center in Lubbock, TX, and wrote a research paper on biofilm and biofilm-based wound care management,” Vicki says. “That experience solidified my interest in wound care; having the opportunity to work with Dr. Randall Wolcott confirmed my choice. During my 7 years working with Dr. Wolcott, I gained valuable experience diagnosing, debriding, and treating thousands of wound care patients and performing numerous research studies on the newest devices, biologicals, topicals, and other wound care products.”
Dr. Wolcott quickly appreciated that Vicki enjoyed the process of wound care because it provides an opportunity to see significant, progressive healing week to week. The satisfaction of healing progress and limb salvage are exciting parts of wound care, but for Vicki the passion for innovation in wound healing displayed by her colleagues, especially Dr. Wolcott, really sold her on investing her career in the field. “I cannot recall any time during my nursing student work, part-time work, or full-time work as an RN and then NP, when Dr. Wolcott was not looking at a new way of healing wounds quicker and better,” she says.
Research studies were common at the clinic where Vicki started her nursing career. The facility averaged a steady flow of patients (80 to 100 per day in clinic) that provided the necessary enrollment and participation. Through these studies, Vicki shared what she learned about wound treatment, as well as knowledge of numerous treatment types of products, with absolute confidence.
The last clinical study Vicki conducted at Southwest Regional Wound Care Center involved a self-adaptive dressing trial comprising single-case studies, followed by a full conversion to self-adaptive dressings. During this time, OSNovative Systems Enluxtra was (and still is) a first-line choice of dressing for all wounds. Vicki had the opportunity to educate local long-term acute care hospitals about this technology and follow patient progress, monitoring the healing effects associated with the dressing. “I gained a great deal of product knowledge by conducting the trials and studies and finding the most effective ways to utilize the product in a variety of wound conditions,” Vicki says. Ultimately, Vicki joined OSNovative Systems as a clinical specialist in May 2013.
“My current responsibilities are to educate nurses and a variety of primary clinicians on the use of self-adaptive dressings,” Vicki says. “This includes basic and primary pathophysiology associated with wound healing, barriers to healing, and etiology associated with different wound classifications. I truly believe this technology is the most advanced and efficient way available today to treat wounds; this is what inspired me to join the OSNovative Systems team. What can be more exciting than making history in wound care?”
Vicki has come a long way since her days as a radiological technologist. She has evolved from watching nurses treat patients to becoming a nurse who provides care to teaching other nurses about products that improve outcomes.
“In my opinion, wound care is one of the most rewarding areas in healthcare because it directly impacts patient’s lives and provides opportunities to improve someone’s quality of living,” Vicki says. “It is not a professional role for everyone, but if you decide it is your interest, follow it with passion and never stop learning new ways of improving care.” Lucky for us, and for so many wound care patients around the world, Vicki was willing to change careers and follow her passion into the wound care scope of practice.
This article was not subject to the Ostomy Wound Management peer-review process.