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Nancy Sujeta
Amanda Clark

Wound care nurses Nancy Sujeta and Amanda Clark.

Nancy Sujeta fancies her specialty “the art form of nursing,” filled with a rainbow of wound colors, textures and shapes and a plethora of media with which to heal. In fact, she and Amanda Clark like nothing better than tackling a nasty wound—whether it’s a diabetic foot, an IV drug user’s infected arm, or a spider bite that kills skin.

Sujeta (surgery) and Clark (medicine) specialize in wound care, and they are the only nurses at Hopkins Hospital solely dedicated to the specialty. Certified as a wound, ostomy and continence specialist, Sujeta has spent the last 12 years consulting and recommending wound-care plans to surgeons, residents and nursing staff across 10 surgical units. Her pockets bulging with sutures, gel foam and dressings, she describes her job as “a lot of detective work.” She is partially responsible for Clark’s career path: “She did one share-day with me and she was in—hook, line and sinker,” says Sujeta.

Clark started on Nelson 4 seven years ago as a staff nurse. Her day with Sujeta inspired her to go back to school to become a certified wound-care specialist. Already overwhelmed with up to 12 patients a day, Sujeta couldn’t have been happier. “I was getting so many calls from Medicine, begging me to see patients. It was time they had their own liaison.”

With three years under her belt, Clark wrote the chapter on wound care in the Osler Medical Handbook. “We have so much autonomy,” she says. “Physicians are very appreciative of our expertise. They don’t get a lot of training in wound care; even they may not realize it’s so much more than saline and gauze.” Her weapon of choice? Enzyme debriders, which selectively liquefy dead tissue.

Although the types of wounds they see differ, both Sujeta and Clark derive enormous satisfaction from being able to heal the horrific wounds that are hell-bent on killing their host. With new advancements such as VAC (vacuum assisted closure) therapy, which uses controlled negative pressure to promote healing, they’re able to save lives and relieve pain like never before.

—Lindsay Roylance

 

 

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