Nurses' knowledge about venous leg ulcer care: a literature review




There is an increasing prevalence of venous leg ulcers coinciding with increasing older people populations. They are therefore important health problems, which restrict daily activities and incur high costs.


Efficient and comprehensive nursing care for people with venous leg ulcers requires knowledge of causes, presentations and characteristics, the effects that venous leg ulcers have on individuals and nursing care with evidence-based treatment.


To identify the gaps between nurses' demonstrated knowledge of venous leg ulcers and the related nursing care treatment with evidence-based nursing care.


A computerized search using MEDLINE, CINAHL the COCHRANE LIBRARY was conducted.


The initial search yielded 174 citations from which 16 relevant articles were included in this review. Four themes in venous leg ulcer nursing care emerged demonstrating nurses' knowledge gaps: assessment, physiology and the healing process, nursing care and dressings, and compression treatment.


This review suggests that there is a lack of knowledge related to venous leg ulcer physiology, the healing process and how this influences care and treatment. Nurses may not be using the evidence base sufficiently well to support ulcer healing and patient well-being.

Implications for nursing and health policy

There is a need for a positive work culture development and ongoing educational programmes aimed at improving nurses' knowledge of venous leg ulcer treatment and care, which address the themes within the results of this review.