RN, CWON, CWS
Dot has been a registered nurse since 1976 and is dedicated to enriching the knowledge of the wound care community.
Dot Weir, RN, CWON, CWS Dot has been a registered nurse since 1976 and began her practice of ostomy and wound management in 1980. She has practiced in acute care, home care and long-term care, spent 7 years in industry, and has practiced in outpatient care since 2001. She has been Board Certified by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Certification Board since 1990 and The American Board of Wound Management since 2004. She has also authored or co-authored numerous book chapters and papers. She practices at the Saratoga Hospital Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Current Activities: • Co-Chair of the Symposium on Advanced Wound Care • Co-Director of the Wound Track for AMP, the Amputation Prevention Symposium. • Faculty of the Wound Certification Prep Course (since 2004) • Member and Secretary of the Board of the International Wound Infection Institute and serving on the Guidelines Update Working Group • Chair of the Practicing Clinician Panel for “Why Wound Care” • Member of the International Planning Committee for the 2020 World Union of Wound Healing Societies conference to be held in Abu Dhabi, UAE. • Member the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society • Member of the World Council of Enterostomal Therapy, • Member Wound Healing Society • Founding Editor and continues on Editorial Board of the Today’s Wound Clinic journal • On speaker’s bureau/Medical Advisory Boards for several wound manufacturers • National and International lecturer on all aspects of Wound Management
Tell Us About Yourself
I practiced most of my career in the Orlando, Florida area until I moved to New York in 2017 to join Dr. Lee Ruotsi, who I actually married on September 4th. I practice with him part time at the Saratoga Hospital Center for Wound Healing and Hyperbaric Medicine. We have a great life with our two adorable pups, Maggie and Lexi, who run our lives, and we enjoy a weekend home on Lake Champlain. We work a lot, but also enjoy walking, boating, being outdoors, and staying as active as the weather will allow. Lee has 3 grown children, and I have 5 nieces and nephews as well as 8 great-nieces and nephews…so I try to be the best “Aunt Dot” possible.
What was your path to wound care?
I’ve been a nurse since 1976, and began my Enterostomal Therapy specialty—now WOCN—at the young age of 25. Back then, in 1980, most of the nurses that pursued this pathway were a little farther along in their careers. This is all I know…all I have done for almost my entire nursing career. Early on, I mostly did ostomy care and teaching but when some of the first wound care specialty products were coming out, I embraced the desire to learn everything I could about wound care, management, and healing. My passion for wound care took off. I worked in acute care and home care for the first 14 years, and then worked for two industry companies for the next 7 years. In 2001, I went into outpatient care and have been there ever since. I love the outpatient environment and being able to see the patients all the way through their wound care journey.
I attended the first Symposium on Advanced Wound Care in 1988 and met Evonne Fowler, who I truly consider to be my mentor. She was the visionary who developed SAWC, and you know what it has become today. In 1990, I became more involved with the symposium by heading up the host committee—eventually becoming Co-Chair with Rob Kirsner. My involvement has led to so many incredible opportunities that I can’t even begin to list them, but I stay incredibly busy with opportunities to teach in multiple venues and engage as an advisor and speaker with our industry partners. I’m also the secretary for the International Wound Infection Institute, which is an area I am very interested in and truly enjoy. I’m so lucky to still work part time, which keeps me grounded and allows me to work directly with patients. I think I would go into withdrawal if I couldn’t clean some legs, wounds, and put compression wraps on each week.
What’s the most challenge part of your job?
Frankly, the most challenging part of my professional life is time. So many great opportunities come up and I rarely say no, so it challenges my time management greatly. Somehow, I get it done—sometimes a bit tardy—but I get it done.
How are you helping to change the field of wound care?
I think I am doing this though my teaching. I’m not an academic, but I am a nurse who loves wound care. I like to teach in a visual way that helps folks to really get it. In 2004, I joined Pamela Scarborough, another visionary, in her quest to provide a Wound Certification Prep Course to help clinicians of all levels and licensures facing certification exams. We did that along with Dr. Greg Patterson for about 10 years, and we now do 15 courses a year. It’s so rewarding to read the evaluations and know that we not only helped someone pass a test, but also enriched their knowledge as it relates to their patients. When you see even one person “get it,” understand it, believe it, and embrace it…well, it really doesn’t get any better than that.
What does being a Difference Maker mean to you?
I’m so very honored to have been selected for this first group. I don’t take it lightly or for granted, and I will continue to do my best to live up to it.
What advice would you give someone pursuing wound care?
Do it. Dive in, learn as much as you can, and never stop learning. You’ll never know it all, but that’s OK. Go at it with passion and let your patients see your interest in them, their pain, their concerns, and their fears. Let them know you’re there to improve their quality of life.
Tell us a story that reminds you why you pursued your career?
Every single day I’m at work, the patients serve as a daily reminder of why I do what I do.
What’s something innovative you’ve done to advance the field of wound care?
I really don’t know. It seems like I was just starting out in 1980 and suddenly here I am, 42 years later.