I'm a new nurse with 1 year experience on a step down unit and am considering specializing in wound/ostomy care. After reading through hundreds of your posts I've got a pretty good idea of how to proceed with certification, however before doing so I was hoping those of you who work as wound care nurses would be willing to share some of your experience.
1. What educational program did you attend and what are your opinions on it?
2. How in demand do you feel wound care nurses are?
3. How did you get your first job in wound care? (was it at a place you already worked that was supportive of you getting the needed training, or did you go out on your own, get the training and then look for a job)
4. What does a typical day consist of for you? (hosp, wound ctr, home health? hands on wound care, pt education, lectures, staff training, paper work, etc).
5. Is the typical wound care nurse salary more or less than that of staff nurses in your area?
6. What is your level of job satisfaction? Knowing what you know now, would you do it again?
7. Do you have any recommendations or words of wisdom you feel would be helpful?
I was thinking my next step would be to contact the wound care nurse at my hospital and see if they would let me shadow them for a day. My greatest concern is that most of the jobs I see advertised are for nurses with not only certification, but also wound care experience. I don't want to commit the time and finances to a program without a better idea of how challenging it may be to find work in the field.
Thank you so much in advance to anyone who is willing to share with me their experience.
May 30, '08
i think shadowing your wc nurse is a great idea. it can be expensive to get the certification. when i started the classes the hospital i was working for paid for most of it. i had to leave there due to the gas prices. i am an hour and half away. so i am paying them back now.
that is ok. the hospital i work for now does not have a woc nurse but they are aware of my pending certifications and have openly told me they were glad i am there. i have been slowly showing them how i can help the patients and the hospital. earning their trust kinda thing, which i would expect. once i get my certification i will be doing some work on my own too.
May 31, '08
You may want to consider HH for wound care experience. My VNA had a WOCN for awhile who was a wonderful asset - but each and every one of us are very adept at caring for wounds. I know that I have become very familiar at different kind of wounds as well as what products seem to work well for them. Often we get a referral from a MD to eval/treat wound - I appreciate the fact the docs recognize our daily exposure to woundcare. We also have a WOCN at our local hospital and up until recently had a local wound clinic staffed by 2 WOCNs (closed b/c it was losing money). Anyhow, it is definitely a growing field and I don't think you will regret any of your decisions to get those certifications! Good luck to you.
Jun 3, '08
1. Emory University's Wound, Ostomy and Continence Education Program. Really liked it, learned a lot.
2. I'm not sure of the demand, since I got my first job by "being in the right place at the right time", and have not looked for another.
3. I was a floor nurse at my hospital, signed up for the Emory program independently (and paid for it myself). One of the wound care nurses at the hospital was trying to retire, and found out that I was enrolled. She encouraged me to interview for a newly posted position, and I got the job.
4. I love the job because of the variety. I round on inpatients in the hospital, give inservice training, am starting to work in our new outpatient clinic, do some quality stuff.
5. I really don't know much about salaries of other wound care nurses.
6. I love it, would definitely do it again.
7. Shadow a wound care nurse. If you like it, DO IT.
Jun 10, '08
I have over 23yrs of nsg exp. I'm a wnd care nur. I did my wnd course at La Salle University, Phil. one wk course u are not eligible for WOCN certification. If u r interested I suggest visiting the WOCN website n choose from there. Then u can be WOCN certified. My job description involves consultation; staging of wnd, wnd care etc., I would also suggest obtaining more experiencing in med surg, bcause u would be seeing pts who have multple comorbidities and u must know how to recommend tx for these pt. In wound care u are really treating the whole pt. Wound care nurses r highly marketable and the pay is very good. a visit in NYC in home care is Approx $60-$75. A consult is Approx $100-$200. Hope info shines some light.
Jun 13, '08
I was a home care nurse for over 12 years and received a lot of wound care experience. The majority of my ceu classes over the last 3 years have specific to wounds. I am the wound care coordinator at a local hospital. My responsibilities include initial and weekly assessment of wounds and making wound care recommendations to the medical director. I assess the patients history, comorbidities and nutritional status. I work closely with the dietician and physical therapy to progress the wound towards healing. In our hospital, physical therapy debrides wounds if needed.