In 1978, as Steve and other 3M scientists began working on the dressing for the critical care nurses, they knew it would have to meet a number of needs in addition to being transparent. It would need to allow for effective oxygen-vapor exchange while helping protect against external contaminants. It would need to be gentle on skin, yet have the staying power needed for longer-term catheter securement.
And importantly, it would need to have a delivery system that would make the application easy for the nurses to apply to patients’ skin.
Imagine a piece of plastic wrap that you use to cover your leftovers. Now imagine that plastic wrap is coated with a tacky adhesive. The second you pull it off the roll, it would start sticking to itself and would be impossible to work with. Without a delivery system, the film quickly becomes a crumpled mess of stickiness.
The picture-frame delivery system keeps the thin film in place, making it easy for clinicians to accurately place the dressing on a patient, and minimizes the potential for the dressing to stick to the glove or to itself. It even permits one-handed application. Nurses remove the Tegaderm dressing from the paper backing, set it on the skin, press it down, and then pull off the frame.
Throughout three decades of working on finding new ways to evolve the product, Steve and the Tegaderm dressings team have continued to collaborate with health care professionals around the world to determine how their needs are evolving.
Constant communication with nurses is what lead to the development of products that continue to simplify and improve care practices – decade after decade. Steve believes that success comes from listening to customers and responding to their needs.