What Is Different about a Burn?
Burns are devastating injuries that require immediate and specialized attention and care. They cause a huge shift of fluid and an extensive inflammatory response that could progress quickly. There are many things to consider: classification, appropriate treatment, and psychosocial intervention. How do you know how much you need to fluid resuscitate? How do you determine if the patient needs to go to a burn unit?
Retrieved from: https://openstax.org/details/books/anatomy-and-physiology
The Rule of Nine
It starts with the Rule of Nine. When doing an initial assessment, looking at the Rule of Nine chart can help you determine the extent of the burn by using a quick estimate of total body surface area. Keep in mind, the Rule of Nine can only be used with partial thickness burns (second degree) and above, not superficial partial thickness (first degree). While other charts, such as the Lund-Browder chart, may be available, this one is easy to remember and fast. Time is of the essence when dealing with burn injuries.
Generally, each limb is a multiple of nine:
Using the Rule of Nine for Test Questions
Now that we have numbers down, let’s take a look at the type of question you may see on a nursing test:
“You are working triage in the emergency department. During the night, a house fire has occurred and the patient has arrived in your unit with full-thickness burns covering the anterior side of his right arm and the anterior side of his chest. What percentage of his body is injured, according to the chart?
Anterior side of his arm (4.5%) + anterior side of his chest (9%) = 13.5%
If you didn’t get it the first time, no worries! It takes practice. Start doing problems by looking at the chart, then, when you think you have all the percentages memorized, try doing it without the chart. Before you know it, you’ll master these questions!