Is WOCN an entry level position?

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    I have been thinking about going into this field. I really like infection (weird statement, huh? But if anyone understands it's you fine people ^_^) the grosser it is, the more interested I become. But there's also an innate desire in me to want to treat it and watch it heal. Is this a field I could get into after I graduate or does this field usually want people with more experience? I plan on getting the certification but I'll worry about that later when I'm actually a nurse. I'm sure med/surg or tele is probably more likely in my future but honestly I don't like the idea of codes going off and running around like a mad person. I don't thrive in chaos. I also don't wanna watch a monitor (they'd have to hook one up to me to make sure I didn't die of boredom). On second thought, a little chaos is good to get the juices going but not a constant state of adrenaline, I never want it to be the "norm"


    Ideally dermatology nursing would be amazing. But good luck getting a job in that, especially without a NP. There just isn't a lot of jobs and I doubt the nurses who work in dermatology quit their jobs often-I wouldn't.
  2. 6 Comments so far...

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    You said you'll die of boredom if you have to watch a monitor, but you want to be a WOCN? Wounds can get nasty, but they are hardly exciting.
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    I would say that it could be an entry level position, but it's not something I would want to take on without the proper background and knowledge. Depending on where you work, they ask a LOT of you. The rely on you to give treatment orders, and at our hospital, some of the physicians actually ask the wound care nurse for advice. I recently turned down a position for wound nurse, because it was just too much. I say that because I haven't done wound care for over 4 years, and I just don't have the knowledge. The previous wound care nurse had already left, so I wouldn't have gotten great training. I definitely can't order treatments, because I wouldn't know which treatment to order. I didn't have what it takes, and I knew my limitations. If you know a lot about wound care already and are willing to research treatment options, etc, then it is definitely for you! I just wouldn't have been what they needed in the amount of time they needed it (ASAP). I have always thought wounds are fascinating, too. But I don't regret turning it down.
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    Quote from CapeCodMermaid
    You said you'll die of boredom if you have to watch a monitor, but you want to be a WOCN? Wounds can get nasty, but they are hardly exciting.


    Yes but there is a healing factor of it that I like, I'm not necessarily chasing some rush or excitement, if I was I'd go into the ER. I wanna do what I find interesting and rewarding, key word being interesting. I've done wound care before and I enjoy it, but I did it on a much smaller scale. I'm still trying to find my niche in nursing. I like things that are surface and visual. Unless their chest is cracked open and I can see the heart I don't know what it's doing, wherein lies that monitor. Which just doesn't appeal to me. Somebody obviously has to do it, and thankfully there are people who are interested in that stuff, not I.
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    getting certified in wound and ostomy care was the best decision I ever made in nursing. The training is very in depth and I have never received more respect from doctors, surgeons and patients. If you're interested in wounds, I definitely recommend it!
    I work in both acute care and in home health, and often see patients in the home that I saw in the hospital, and vica versa.
    Sure it's demanding, what in nursing isn't, but I'm way more independent, and don't have a supervisor constantly watching over me. I report to a team of WOCNs and we meet weekly to discuss policies, case studies, etc. It's a very supportive environment.
    I don't like a lot of dramarama and adrenaline, either, although at times, especially in acute care, the productivity requirements can be demanding. In home health, I pace my wound and ostomy consults the way I want to, then go to a cafe to document. I also teach an occasional class in wound care, ostomy management, wound vac techniques, and compression dressing techniques. There's always more to learn and as a fairly new WOCN, I've found other WOCNs to be incredibly patient and helpful. We don't "eat our young" as I often felt in other areas of nursing.

    Regarding if you should get some experience beforehand, it wouldn't hurt. I don't think that will affect your studies at all or your ability to be a good wound care nurse. You have to follow your heart. If you don't want to do other things, why put yourself through all that stress? It may affect other aspects of your career, such as how many years of experience, etc. Employers still often hire based on years of acute care experience. You do get a pretty good background of anatomy and physiology , as well as etiologies of chronic wounds and ostomies. And way more in depth than you ever did in nursing school.

    Hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions.
    nurseebol likes this.
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    Oct. 2012: Thank you so much for the post. I will be attending Emory University in Atlanta Georgia in Jan, 2013 for their 10 week traditional program. As a 52 year old surgical nurse going back to school and very rusty on med.-surg I was relieved to read your post.I feel I have the heart for it and trust that I will learn what I need to know. My question is Do you have any words of wisdom as to how to study, what resources to study, and what exam to take to become certified? I live in the Seattle/Everett,Wa. area and when choosing a "best place" to work as a WOCN outpatient clinic, hospital, skilled nursing facility, religious affialiated hospital vs. VA hospital,etc. What questions, issues do I need to ask and look at? Thank you for any and all help. Marilyn Pyles at mmmtpyles @hotmail.com
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    You'll have all those questions answered during your training. There are very specific steps to take in order to become certified. The program will help you with that. One of my colleagues did the Emory program and he thought it was excellent. I did the Wicks program, which was distance learning at my own pace, followed by an internship in a local hospital where I live. I would definitely NOT do the distance program if I had to repeat it. I think you'll learn a lot from having peers. And recent med-surg experience is so not an issue. I hadn't worked in med-surg in over 10 years. actually your surgical experience will probably be much more useful, since we work very closely with vascular, GI, and plastic surgeons (for flaps and skin grafts). There's also a program at the Univ of Washington, closer to where you live. Conferences are also a great way to network. Getting to know the local reps of wound and ostomy supply manufacturers, such as Coloplast, Hollister or Convatec, is a good way to get a finger on the pulse of what's going where you live. They know all the WOCNs and who's who. They also liberally give out free samples of products you can often try in your practice.
    Good luck.


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