Wound care nursing is an especially fulfilling practice because you play an active role in helping the body heal. As the demand increases with an aging population, and the prevalence of obesity and diabetes, wound care nurses are in demand. Keep reading to find out what wound care nurses do, if it’s right for you, and how you can get started on the path today.
Once a nurse earns their degree and passes the NCLEX-RN, they may decide to specialize in wound care nursing. This will require additional training and education. Many RNs enter wound care nursing after treating patients with chronic wounds in other nursing areas, such as oncology, med-surg, or critical care.
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A bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to be certified by the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB).
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After earning your nursing degree, you must pass the pass the National Council Licensure Examination for registered nurses (NCLEX-RN) to obtain your RN license, which is a prerequisite for obtaining your wound care license.
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A variety of certifications are available that meet the WOCNCB board requirements to be a wound care nurse. These certification programs typically take 2-3 months to complete. After completing the program, you must pass a certification exam.
There is also an option to obtain certification via experience. This requires 50 wound care related CEs and 1500 hours of clinical experience, over the last 5 years.
After you complete approved wound care education, you must take and pass the certification exam. The cost of the exam varies.
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Like all medical professionals, wound care nurses require continuing education (CE) credits to remain up to date on new treatments and medical best practices. The CE credits also help you qualify for recertification, which is required every 5 years.
Wound care nurses work in a variety of medical settings, including acute and long-term care facilities, home healthcare companies, public health agencies, and hospice. There is a growing need for wound care nurses in long-term care settings to treat complications from diabetes, in particular.
A hospital wound care nurse is commonly consulted during a patient’s stay when a wound or pressure ulcer is discovered, or if the patient has an ostomy. They are responsible for following the proper course of treatment to promote healing and continually assessing the patient’s skin.
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