The Wound Care Nurse
Being a Wound Care Registered Nurse is the speciality that I am interested in pursuing. I am currently a Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) certified wound care Licensed Practical Nurse. Receiving my RN degree as well as additional certification will enable me to advance greatly in my career. I plan on continuing my education and becoming a Nurse Practitioner specializing in wound management. The minimal educational level for a Wound Care Nurse is a Registered Nurse degree. You must have graduated from an approved School of Nursing. You must have a current state license. Some hospitals such as INOVA or Virginia Hospital Center want their nurses to have a minimum of 2 years med-surg experience and some wound care experience is preferred and a Wound Care Nurse (WCN) Certification is required within 3 years of hire.
Most wound care nurses do hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing because this a requirement for Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN) certification. Currently there are three certifications offered: (1) Certified Wound Care Nurse-CWCN, which is offered by the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB), (2) Wound Care Certified – WCC, which is offered by the National Alliance of Wound Care (NAWC); and (3) Certified Wound Specialist -CWS, offered by the American Association of Wound Management (AAWM).
A wound care nurse can work in a Long-term care or skilled nursing facility, in a hospital on the general floors, specialized wound centers, or for home health agencies, hospice, or public health agencies (Registerednursing.org, 2020) . This type of nurse specializes in assessing and treating skin issues such as skin breakdown, pressure ulcers, burns, and surgical wounds. The population served is individuals with these types of skin disorders. Some nurses also crosstrain to include Ostomies or diabetic foot care as well. They are responsible for determining the proper course of care to promote healing. The job description according to the job posting for the Wound Care Registered Nurse – RN at the Virginia Hospital Center is as follows: The Wound Care Registered Nurse – RN, will join a unique medical floor that focuses on comprehensive wound healing while utilizing the latest technologies including a hyperbaric center.
The Wound Care Registered Nurse RN will be responsible for caring for patients suffering from wounds such as diabetic foot ulcers, radiation necrosis, pressure ulcers, arterial ulcers, venous stasis ulcers, trauma wounds, cellulitis, surgical wounds, osteomyelitis, compromised flaps and grafts, and any other wound that has not healed in over four weeks. Specifically for the Virginia Hospital Center at this Wound Healing Center, the Wound Care Registered Nurse RN will utilize a number of wound healing treatments including advanced wound dressings, negative pressure wound therapy, bioengineered tissue, compression wraps, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The Wound Care Registered Nurse RN will work within an interdisciplinary team of wound care clinicians including nurse practitioners, preppers, wrappers, ostomy nurses, home care clinicians, hyperbaric technicians, antibiotic infusion nurses, infectious disease physicians, interventional cardiologists, podiatrists, plastic surgeons, lymphedema specialists, nutritionists, vascular surgeons, and interventional radiologists.
According to the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN) the level of autonomy is that a Wound care nurse functions under the guidelines of a physician or advanced practice registered nurse. There are many selected competencies for wound care management (WOCN, 2017) Some of which are listed below. The WOC registered nurse: Provides expert hands-on care for individual patients with acute or chronic (e.g., advanced treatment modalities, conservative sharp instrumental wound debridement of devitalized tissue or chemical cauterization per physician order,etc.).
Serves as a consultant to provide insight and potential solutions for complex clinical cases to improve patient care and outcomes Uses judgement and critical thinking skills to assess, diagnose, and identify outcomes; develop and implement an individualized care plan, and evaluate care of the patient with an acute or chronic wound. Uses evidence-based assessment techniques, instruments, tools, and available data and information to identify problems and needs of the patient with an acute or chronic wound. Engages the patient with an acute or chronic wound in self care to maximise independence and achieve goals for quality of life.