Burn Care for Underserved Communities: A Certified Burn Nurse’s Perspective

Burn Care for Underserved Communities: A Certified Burn Nurse’s Perspective

Along with their trauma and flight nursing colleagues, burn nurses are now privileged to demonstrate their expertise in burn care with the new Certified Burn Registered Nurse (CBRN) exam from the Board of Certification for Emergency Nursing (BCEN). Introduced in the fall of 2023, CBRN certification spans the entire burn care continuum including prehospital care and initial management, acute and critical care, post-acute rehabilitation, outpatient and community care, and aftercare and reintegration, as well as injury prevention, education, and psychosocial patient and family support.burn-care-for-underserved-communities-a-certified-burn-nurses-perspective

With this new certification, burn nurses are uniquely positioned to highlight the important role burn nurses play in the care of traditionally underserved communities. As burn injuries are often associated with several social determinants of health, including poverty (Patel, 2018), food insecurity (Elsey, 2016), and living in under-resourced neighborhoods (Alnabantah, 2016), burn nurses play a crucial role in caring for some of the patients most in need of care.

Burn nurses’ work is similar to that of critical care specialties like trauma and emergency nursing. However, burn nurses are also responsible for complex wound care, often requiring hours-long procedures in patient rooms. This affords burn nurses one-on-one time with their patients, allowing them prolonged individual time to assess individual socio-demographic risk factors better. This individual time also provides an expanded role for the burn nurse, often taking on the caretaker and trusted confidant role. In this role, burn nurses can better assess the needs of their patients post-discharge, anticipating potential problems like lack of transportation, living conditions without heat or electricity, or unstable food resources.

The ability of burn nurses to anticipate these needs post-discharge is such a crucial aspect of their role that it is a component of the CBRN exam. The CBRN exam tests burn nurses for diversity, equity, inclusion, community outreach, and interprofessional collaboration knowledge. In addition to acknowledging the unique role these nurses play in recognizing and intervening when necessary, the CBRN exam also acknowledges the difference in the presentation of both burn injuries and skin disorders like Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN). Given the recent acknowledgment of the lack of diversity in medical education training (Louie & Wilkes, 2018), it is vital for all nurses. However, burn nurses should know the differences in presentation for full-thickness burns and skin injuries in light versus dark-complected patients. In addition to including DEI as a testable item, CBRN item writers and exam construction review committee (ECRC) members made a concerted effort to include depictions of all skin tones to test this knowledge.

As a burn nurse of almost 13 years, I have seen the profound difference providing culturally sensitive care has made to patients in our burn center. When I started caring for patients with burns, for example, we used one type of shampoo and one type of lotion for all of our patients. While it seems like a small piece of care, providing products designed to work with the patient’s hair and skin demonstrates a commitment to culturally competent care. I profoundly hope that as we continue to make strides in educating burn nurses, we find new ways to provide the best care possible to all our patients.


Louie P, Wilkes R. Representations of race and skin tone in medical textbook imagery. Soc Sci Med. 2018 Apr;202:38-42. doi: 10.1016/j.socscimed.2018.02.023. Epub 2018 Feb 23. PMID: 29501717.

Elsey H, Manandah S, Sah D, Khanal S, MacGuire F, King R, et al. (2016). Public Health Risks in Urban Slums: Findings of the Qualitative‘Healthy Kitchens Healthy Cities’  Study in Kathmandu, Nepal. PLoS ONE 11(9): e0163798 Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0163798

Alnababtah K, Khan S, Ashford R. Socio-demographic Factors and the Prevalence of Burns in Children: An Overview of the Literature. Paediatrics and International Child Health (2016). 10.1179/2046905514Y.0000000157 [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]

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Honoring Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s First Licensed Black Nurse

Honoring Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s First Licensed Black Nurse

This National Nurses Week, learn more about Mary Eliza Mahoney, America’s first professionally-trained Black nurse whose birthday lies on May 7, the second day of National Nurses Week.honoring-mary-eliza-mahoney-americas-first-licensed-black-nurse

Mahoney’s journey to becoming a nurse in the 1800s was full of setbacks she couldn’t control, yet she persevered to create a decades-long career as a nurse known for compassion and bringing comfort to others.

However, her story doesn’t end there—she later became a well-known leader in the nursing field, co-founding the National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses (NACGN) in 1908 and supporting the women’s suffrage movement before it became popular. She was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 1993 for her contributions to breaking racial barriers in nursing.

Today, Mahoney inspires Black nurses and other nurses of color who relate to her struggles in a world where breaking the mold is never easy.

From Nurse Aide to Nursing Graduate

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, on May 7, 1845, Mary Eliza Mahoney knew at a young age that she wanted to be a nurse. She started her career at the New England Hospital for Women and Children at the age of 20. The hospital was progressive in its time, including an all-women staff of physicians, and provided healthcare to only women and their children. Mahoney first worked as a nurse aide among licensed nurses, but her wages were too low, so she worked in various roles, including washerwoman, janitor, and cook.

After 15 years of domestic service duties, Mahoney was offered a spot at the hospital’s prestigious graduate school in 1878, assisted by a doctor who believed in her potential.

The graduate school’s program was intensive, consisting of 16-hour days learning how to prep and complete ward duty, overseeing up to six patients. The program was so intensive that out of the 42 accepted students, only four remained, including Mahoney. However, Mahoney’s hard work ethic and experience in nursing paid off. After 16 months in the program, she graduated with her nursing diploma, making her the first professionally trained Black nurse at the time.

Mahoney’s Legacy to Nurses

For the next four decades, Mahoney worked as a private nurse to wealthy white families in the Boston area due to discrimination against Black women in hospitals and other professional settings. Mothers and families who worked with her admired her professionalism and work ethic, and she received requests across the Northeast to work with other wealthy families. Over time, Mahoney grew fond of her work, referring to her clients as family.

Mahoney knew that her work would set an example for minority nurses who could work in fields outside of domestic service. As a result, she raised the bar for more Black women to find careers in nursing and similar professions.

In her later years, Mahoney was a vocal advocate for all nurses, including nurses of color. From 1911 to 1912, she was the director of the Howard Colored Orphan Asylum for Black children in Long Island, New York. As a leader in the NACGN, she was already known as a pioneer in nursing. She gave the welcoming address at the NACGN Convention in 1908 and was made an honorary lifetime member and elected chaplain in 1909.

In 1923, Mahoney was diagnosed with breast cancer and died on January 4, 1926, at the age of 80. To remember her legacy, the NACGN created the Mary Mahoney Award in 1936 for any nurse who made a lasting contribution to social justice within their field. This award is still being given today by the American Nurses Association (ANA) after the NACGN merged with the organization.

Mahoney’s legacy shows the values many minority nurses bring to the field. Her efforts to build organizations that highlight the accomplishments of minority women teach what every nurse of color can offer to patients today.

Learn more about Mary Eliza Mahoney

If you want to learn more about this nursing pioneer, here are some resources for a deeper look at her past and significance to nursing:

  • BlackPast is an online encyclopedia providing information on Black history internationally, especially in North America. Read Mary Eliza Mahoney’s biography and learn more about the history of Black nurses in the U.S.
  • The American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) wrote an article on the impact of Mahoney’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion in nursing.
  • As part of the ANA’s Journey of Racial Reconciliation series, the organization will host a webinar on Mahoney’s birthday with diverse nursing leaders on how nurses can draw inspiration from her impact on the field.
Reflecting on Nurses Week: What Would Florence Think?

Reflecting on Nurses Week: What Would Florence Think?

Nurses Week occurs every year during the second week of May, and much fanfare is made of the pizza parties, tote bags, water bottles, and signs proclaiming heroes work here.”reflecting-on-nurses-week-what-would-florence-think

If we want to be more thoughtful and reflective about the phenomenon of National Nurses Week, theres much more to this annual moment of recognition than these familiar superficial trappings.

And since Nurses Week is built around the celebration of Florence Nightingales birthday (May 12, 1820), its appropriate to wonder what the veritable godmother of modern nursing would think of how we do (or dont) celebrate our profession.

What Would Florence Think?

The American Nurses Association (ANA) has chosen the theme Nurses Make the Difference” for the 2024 celebration. While not altogether original or overly inspiring, we can all agree that nurses make a difference in patient care, research, entrepreneurship, academia, technology, and other areas of endeavor.

Would Ms. Nightingale agree that nurses make a difference? She certainly would, and I would venture that she would have much to say about how that statement rings true. In her time, nurses were purveyors of comfort, cleanliness in the form of improved sanitation and hygiene, and the carrying out of physicians’ orders in caring for the infirm, the injured, and the dying.

In Nightingales theory, nurses aimed to ensure that patients were cared for in a manner that allowed nature to intervene in the interest of their health (e.g., the healing of wounds, the resolution of infection, etc.). If she saw nursing as the activities that promote health which occurs in any caregiving situation,” nurses make a difference by assuring patients are cared for in a way that maximizes their healing potential. And if, as can be asserted, Nightingales theory sees illness as the absence of comfort,” nurses’ ability to provide comfort can make all the difference in the world.

Theres no doubt that Ms. Nightingale would agree that nurses’ ability to provide positive interventions in the interest of patients’ healing is a central mission of the profession. However, what would she think of how we recognize nurses for their efforts during the annual celebration of her birthday?

In Nightingales day, there were no tote bags or water bottles bearing the hospital logo, nor were there pizza parties, greeting cards, and banners hung over hospital entrances. While its all conjecture on our part, one might hope she would look down upon such superficial acknowledgments of nursesworth.

Even though Nightingale was a revolutionary, out-of-the-box thinker as a Victorian woman, she might still be significantly shocked at the wages nurses command in the 21st century. She would also likely be shocked by the salaries earned by hospital CEOs, let alone the power of the insurance industry.

As a brilliant and forward-thinking woman, Nightingale would be likely quick to understand that womens place in 21st-century post-industrial society has dramatically evolved since her time, and one could imagine that she would be wholly supportive of nurses receiving increases in salary, benefits, and other forms of recognition that demonstrate acknowledgment of their value as healthcare professionals. Plainly stated, Nightingale might be heard to remark, Give those nurses a substantial raise — they deserve it.”

Reflecting on Nurses Week

Some hard-working nurses will likely appreciate an employer’s gestures during Nurses Week through food, gifts, and banners expressing gratitude for their contributions.

That said, salary increases, improved benefits, tuition and certification reimbursement, and other support for nurse professional development would likely be much more well-received. Improvements in staffing, protections against workplace violence, and updated technologies that truly make our work easier would also likely be much more well-received.

Nurses make a difference, and the satisfaction of a job well done can go far in creating ones personal sense of self-worth, especially when coupled with patients’ and colleagues’ respect.

Nurses Week is a moment to pause for the cause and reflect on our value in the scheme of things. Tote bags and pizza aside, our works true value provides meaning, and Nightingale knew this too well.

What would Nightingale think? She would think that 21st-century nurses have greatly advanced the profession. She might also remind us that what we feel in our hearts—and the thoughts we have about who we are and what we do—always matter most in the larger scheme of things.

Celebrating Nurses with $100,000 Mystery Scrubs Giveaway

Celebrating Nurses with $100,000 Mystery Scrubs Giveaway

Careismatic Brands is celebrating Nurses Week the month of May with a $100,000 Mystery Scrubs giveaway of medical apparel in the form of “mystery gift packages” sent to 250 winners once a month for the rest of the year.


Careismatic Brands is celebrating Nurses Week the month of May with a $100,000 Mystery Scrubs giveaway

The contest runs May 1 through May 26, 2023, and winners will be selected by June 2, 2023.

Healthcare providers can sign up online for the giveaway here or on social media (@allheart,@hhscrubs@cherokeeuniforms) for a chance to win.

Once notified, winners will be asked for their clothing, shoe sizes, and other information needed to customize their seven monthly gift packages.

“With this giveaway, we’re excited to bring a little joy into nurses’ lives,” says Milo Slattery, Chief Product Officer at Careismatic Brands. “And to surprise them each month with a gift package on their doorstep.”

The 2023 Nurses Week $100,000 Mystery Scrubs Giveaway is open to healthcare providers aged 18 and over in the U.S.


Nurses, Go Ahead and Ask for More! 

Nurses, Go Ahead and Ask for More! 

Yes, I said it. It’s time that nurses put nurses first!

This is our week, our month, shoot, it’s even our year. Come on. Let’s go. Ask for what you want both in your professional life and personal life. The world knows that we deserve more, and we deserve the best. We work hard, so we need to take care of ourselves. We give, give, and give and it is time to receive. However, we must be open to receiving and accepting greatness and gratitude. Don’t block your blessings.

But wait to receive more. We must practice gratitude.

According to Eckhart Tolle, “Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” One easy way to practice gratitude is to keep a gratitude journal and write everything that you are grateful daily.

Do not be afraid to ask for more. You are worthy of more, and you deserve more.

You do not need validation from anyone. You are a highly skilled professional and an expert in your field. So go ahead, ask for that vacation! Ask for that raise you have been thinking about asking but have been too afraid. Negotiating that offer, yes, please negotiate. Go ahead and take a day to do whatever your heart desires. Whether it’s going to the spa or salon. Hair done, nails done, everything done. Go ahead and relax! Enjoy.

Back to gratitude and receiving. I will leave you with some positive affirmations. And yes, there are a lot of money affirmations because we need to normalize talking about money and getting paid. Nurses need to eat, too. Happy Nurses Week!

  1. I am open and ready to receive abundance in my life.
  2. I am worthy of having more wealth.
  3. Money comes to me easily and harmoniously.
  4. My life is full of prosperity and abundance.
  5. Money is rooted in good and leads to peace.
  6. I am full of confidence, and everyone around me can feel that.
  7. Happiness is a choice, and today I choose to be happy.
  8. All I need is within me right now.
  9. I am grateful for everything I have in my life.
  10. I am an unstoppable force of nature.