How to break into wound care nursing.

  1. 0
    I had a revelation. I love wound care.

    I currently work telemetry, and I get a lot of satisfaction out of wound care, dressing changes, reading up on why the wound care RN ordered this treatment over that treatment, etc. I spent a day orienting in my hospital's outpatient wound center, and the patients were extremely complimentary of the care they received. There is also a lot of autonomy, especially for the certified RN who also has sharp debridement certification.

    How do you break into it, though? So many places want wound and ostomy certified nurses, but I know you have to have a LOT of hours of wound care before you can sit for the exam, so nurses are getting the necessary experience somewhere. If I were to apply for a non-certified wound care position in the future, how could I present myself as qualified for the position, if I've only done wound care in an acute setting?

    I can see myself becoming a wound care nurse in the next five years or so, if only I knew how to get there. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.
  2. 10 Comments so far...

  3. 1
    Thanks for posting this, Dudette10.

    I'm interested in wound care too. I read in another thread that working in LTC will give you tons of experience and enough opportunity to become certified, though I don't know the actual hours required. I would imagine there is a lot of wound care in home health too, since pressure ulcers can end up requiring long term chronic care.

    I'll go see if I can find out the hours required to sit for exams.
    dudette10 likes this.
  4. 1
    WCC Certification

    Here is some info on certification.
    dudette10 likes this.
  5. 3
    Hi,
    I am always so happy to hear when other nurses are interested in wound care! It truly is a passion of mine too!

    I have been a wound care certified nurse for 6 years now, but when I first started to look at getting certified I found out that I was not "qualified" to take most of the wound care certification courses because I only had my associates degree RN, most required a BSN. I was so frustrated because as an RN, I was just as good as the BSN nurses I worked with, and often my assessment skills were even better!! I , very in depth certification class that prepares you to sit for the exam given the National Alliance of Wound Care. Passing this exam gives you the credential WCC (wound care certified) and it is open to all MD’s, PA’s, NP’s, RN’s, LPN’s, PT’s, OT’s as well!!

    Meeting the "hours" (experience) is not that difficult if you have a "hands on" job. Also, they offer a "preceptor pathway" (my LPN did this) where you can take the class and then work with a wound care clinician to get the required hours and then take the exam once you have met the requirement. It worked well for her, she had the education and then when we put it all into practice at the patient’s bedside, it all came together for her! It was great!


    I work have always worked in LTC and now I am even able to do consulting on the side. I can't say enough good things about the course and how it helped my facility but also my career too! Our facility even sent another RN and LPN to get certified too! There are tons of WCC's out there and the networking is awesome!
    Good luck to you
    Last edit by Esme12 on Sep 2, '12
    SYNTIA, tanyar216, and dudette10 like this.
  6. 1
    jenornwccdwc,

    Wow, that is great info, thanks! This sounds like something I would definitely like to fit in my future nursing plans.
    dudette10 likes this.
  7. 1

    Hi,

    I also work in LTC; I started by taking in depth wound care courses and networking. I asked to shadow at a few specialized wound clinics and asked about requirements to be hired.

    After shadowing I found out that the current course I was taking enabled me to be hired as a novice Wound Care nurse. I am being mentored by the Foot, Leg, Ulcer Clinic I work at and am currently half way through an advanced wound care certificate.

    It is intense; however the learning curve, knowledge and skills I am acquiring are proving to be invaluable! I love it and am excited about applying it and building the confidence around wound care and care planning.

    Happy that there are more chats on here lately

    Regards,

    Follow Your Bliss
    dudette10 likes this.
  8. 0
    Thank you all for your comments. I'm getting from the posts that it's a combination of education and some networking to break into the field. My hospital has an onsite outpatient wound clinic where the lead RN also does inpatient wound evaluations and treatment orders (with an MDs co-sign). Maybe I can explore that a bit...

    Elsie: As you probably noticed from the certification, it sounds like hands-on experience is also necessary for the exam, and that's a problem that many of us who want to break into wound care face. I can definitely see how working in an LTC or LTACH might provide many more opportunities for hands-on experience.
  9. 0
    dudette10,

    Getting into a specialized clinic is...challenging, however, that being said I feel it is also the application, assessment, and treatment of the wounds while you are on the learning curve!

    When I did my Level 1 Wound care prior to being in the Wound Clinic it was quite difficult to see, or treat things I didn't come across at work! Where I work in LTC there are limited amounts of wounds so that was frustrating on the "learning" end of things.

    Keep us posted- I think the outpatient clinic is a great idea! Also, home and community nursing provides a host of pre and post surgical opportunities- chronic wounds are huge as well...

    I meant to mention, research and buy a wound text that is used in your wound courses or clinics
    Take Care,
    Follow Your Bliss
  10. 0
    WOCN and CWS RN's are highly sought after. The WCC certification is basically a week long course (very informative and educational, I'm sure) at the end of which you take an exam, which you've been taught to for the entire week. It does not confer experience or expertise (again, NOT saying it isn't great information). To be able to work autonomously and stay within the scope of practice, only WOCNs and CWSs will do consults (inpatient wound care). I seriously encourage those who are interested in wound care and professional growth to read at www.abwm.com about CWS cert and Home - Wound Care Certification - WOCNCB about becoming wound/ostomy/continence certification.
  11. 0
    Quote from followyourbliss
    Hi,

    I also work in LTC; I started by taking in depth wound care courses and networking. I asked to shadow at a few specialized wound clinics and asked about requirements to be hired.

    After shadowing I found out that the current course I was taking enabled me to be hired as a novice Wound Care nurse. I am being mentored by the Foot, Leg, Ulcer Clinic I work at and am currently half way through an advanced wound care certificate.

    It is intense; however the learning curve, knowledge and skills I am acquiring are proving to be invaluable! I love it and am excited about applying it and building the confidence around wound care and care planning.

    Happy that there are more chats on here lately

    Regards,

    Follow Your Bliss
    Hi nurses,

    Is there anyone from Canada here? I am an RN from South Africa but practicing here in British Columbia. I don't have my bachelors degree, only my diploma. I am wondering how I can get into Wound Care as it is something that I have always had a passion for. It seems as though you can only do certificates in wound care if you have your Bsn.

    Any information would be greatly appreciated

    Tarryn


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