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HL20: Roxana Reyna, RN—Finding a Way to Heal

By John Commins  
   December 16, 2014

Roxana Reyna, RN, has learned that sometimes the best way to treat a serious injury is to improvise. Reyna's creative skills as a skin and wound care specialist earned her an invitation to a White House event honoring healthcare professionals who look beyond textbooks and develop their own solutions.

In our annual HealthLeaders 20, we profile individuals who are changing healthcare for the better. Some are longtime industry fixtures; others would clearly be considered outsiders. Some are revered; others would not win many popularity contests. They are making a difference in healthcare. This is the story of Roxana Reyna, RN.

This profile was published in the December, 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

"We can't wait for a company to come up with something that will help our patients heal faster, so I have to think of it and create it there on the spot at the bedside with what I have."

Neonatal medicine has vastly improved the chances of survival for infants. But when dealing with wounds, burns, and other skin issues, nurses can face challenges because medical supply companies often don't make standardized dressings and bandages that are small enough to fit infant bodies. This was a common vexation for Roxana Reyna, RN, a skin and wound care specialist at Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas. So, she learned to improvise.

"I got interested in wound care and I noticed that there weren't any dressings or bandages made for kids that provide the same pathway to healing," she says. "I had to take the dressings and design them, cut them up, and make them so I could get the full effect of the wound healing that I needed for the babies and the kids."

In one burst of creativity, Reyna's proudest moment came when she devised a dressing for babies born with omphalocele, a birth defect that leaves intestines protruding from the body and covered only by a thin layer of tissue. Surgery repairs the defect, but in the interim, the infant is at risk of infection. Pressed to improvise, Reyna fashioned a Hydrofiber dressing made from antimicrobial materials.

"I am there to get those kids to heal using the materials on hand," she says. "We can't wait for a company to come up with something that will help our patients heal faster, so I have to think of it and create it there on the spot at the bedside with what I have."

John Commins is a content specialist and online news editor for HealthLeaders, a Simplify Compliance brand.

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