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Starting Out in Dermatology Nursing

Getting Real: Nursing Today
October 24, 2016
Starting Out in Dermatology Nursing

Dermatology nurses help us take care of our largest organ – our skin. Dermatology nursing is a specialty that focuses on helping treat wounds, injuries and diseases of the skin. To learn more about this unique specialty, we spoke with a new dermatology nurse, Mercedes Bailey, RN, BSN. Mercedes is a clinical supervisor at Davie Dermatology & The MedSpa in Advance, N.C. 

NN: What is your favorite part of being a dermatology nurse?

Mercedes: My favorite part of being a dermatology nurse is helping patients along their journey of healing. I will have patients that come in with a diagnosis that affects every facet of their lives. It is rewarding to see them receive the treatment they need and to see them gain confidence in caring for themselves, becoming empowered with knowledge about their disease.

NN: Can you tell us more about your role as a dermatology nurse?

Mercedes: My role includes working very closely with patients, delivering their results and educating patients on their diagnosis and further treatments and medications recommended by the provider. My current position also entails supervising the clinical department of our practice, made up of 15 medical and nursing assistants. I manage staff, mentor, develop education programs, develop departmental budgets and maintain an inventory of supplies. 

NN: What is the most important things that you’ve learned in your first few years as a nurse?

Mercedes: One of the most important things I learned was to identify the resources that you may need to utilize when something new crosses your path. By utilizing your resources, it allows you to critically think about the situation and push forward as a novice nurse yet competent nurse. I also learned that patients are multifaceted and that the typical standard of care may need to be adapted to match a patient’s needs. Finally, a big lesson I learned as I started my nursing career was the value of conducting a thorough history of the patient. It’s important to have perfect assessment skills, because they help you recognize subtle changes in the patient’s condition and anticipate the healthcare needs quicker.

NN: How do dermatology professionals collaborate in your office?

Mercedes: We all work together. The dynamic between dermatology nurses and other dermatology healthcare providers requires collaboration, communication and rapport.

NN: Who is your nurse mentor and why is it so important to identify a mentor to help guide you in your first years as a nurse?

Mercedes: My nurse mentor has changed over the years, but I have always believed in peer support and guidance from those who have experience and are experts in their fields. It is important to maintain a mentor to have someone professionally challenge you to perform your best, or to make career decisions that enhance your personal enrichment as a nurse, and as a human being.

Nurse mentors also are a support system. In the fast-paced, ever-changing environment of nursing, a mentor is someone who shares your passion for caring, and together you stay engaged as professional nurses.

NN: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Mercedes: It is hard to say what will happen in five years. Expectations change, you change, and your goals can changed. However, my current goals are to obtain a specialty certification for dermatology that is offered by the Dermatology Nursing Certification Board and to pursue my dreams of being a highly skilled and experienced nurse in the field of nursing education.

NN: Any advice for nurses who are about to graduate and considering dermatology nursing?

Mercedes: Dermatology nursing is always changing. Be a change agent for your team to provide the best care for your patients.

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