Harris cares for long-term wounds at CMH

Nurse has been in the wound care clinic since 2011

By Sarah Bello

It’s 8 a.m., and outpatient wound care nurse Lisa Harris, RN has been at her desk for just a few minutes. She’s already busy, and she likely won’t have many breaks as she cares for her patients throughout the day. Lisa Harris

Ostomy management, vascular wounds, injuries and other wound care will be the focus of Harris’ appointments. She likes the variety and says despite the busyness, she loves what she does and doesn’t get bored. 

“Wound care involves the holistic person, dealing with every system in the human body,” she explains. “We don’t just treat the wound, we address a lot of underlying causes.”

Harris has been interested in wound care since she was a nursing student at Lower Columbia College in the early 2000s. After working in a cardiology unit and a surgical group for several years, she gained experience with general, breast, GI and vascular surgeons, as well as dermatologists and podiatrists. With that experience, she received her certification in wound care.

In 2011, CMH wanted to open a wound care clinic, and it contacted Harris to see if she’d move here from her home in Longview, Washington. She was interested, and she’s been in the Astoria area ever since.

Harris says the wound care she is a part of is different from inpatient treatment, since she deals with more advanced, long-term treatment and goals. She works with patients who have various injuries, pressure- or bone-related wounds, GI and urinary issues, feeding tubes and other issues. She says her time spent in podiatry has been helpful, since she sees a lot of people with foot problems, such as diabetic foot ulcers. 

There’s no typical day in the wound care clinic, because there is such a wide array of cases to treat, Harris says. She gets her orders from overseeing physician Dr. Richard Crass, a surgeon in the General Surgery Clinic. He works with her daily and says she is an excellent team player who frequently misses lunch to see patients, staying late into the day.

“Lisa is committed to her patients and goes the extra mile to be certain they receive the care they need,” he says. “Her patients love her.”

Harris sees some patients more regularly, and the feelings are mutual as she’s developed good relationships with them. Although some disease processes are more of a challenge to manage, she enjoys the work and busy days.

“The thing I love most is seeing patients get better and live a happier life,” she says. “Their quality of life really improves when they start seeing the outcomes.”