Wound care nurses are a relatively new position in the medical field. For the past 30 years, many certified wound care nurses have helped patients maintain excellent wound care. Thousands of dedicated nurses assume the role of wound care nurses.
There is a great need for certified persons to fill the many positions available in hospitals and clinics around the world. Becoming a wound care nurses can provide extremely rewarding careers for the right people.
Wound Care Nurse Job Description
Wound care nurses (WOC) have many names, including continence and ostomy nurses. These nurses specialize in the proper management of wound care by treating and monitoring wounds that are the result of disease, injury, or medical treatments.
The majority of the positions for this type of nurse are in nursing homes or hospitals. Some nurses work in positions that require them to travel to the homes of patients to care for their wounds.
The job requires that these certified nurses provide care that will quickly and safely heal various types of wounds, including surgical openings, ulcers, bed sores, feeding tube sites, and abscesses. Their work requires that they access the wounds, create and implement treatment plans, monitor infections and signs of various infections, and clean wounds.
The nurses must also have the skills to notice symptoms that require surgical drains or surgical debridement. They must also handle the wounds of patients respectfully and delicately. Wound care nurses may also educate others in the area of proper wound care.
Wound Care Nurse Certification (WOCN)
Before earning certification to become a wound care nurse, it is necessary to receive the proper education from accredited colleges or universities. Educational options for entry-level positions include a diploma from a qualifying hospital or educational institution, an associate’s degree, or a bachelor’s degree in nursing. A bachelor’s degree offers the greatest number of employment opportunities because employers want nurses with the most education and skills.
Earning certification is very important for those who want to increase their marketability and salary potential. Certification is evidence that the certificate holders have achieved mastery of the skills necessary to become wound care nurses. Many employers will not hire nurses who do not have certification in wound care.
There are several organizations that offer certification in wound care, including The National Alliance of Wound Care (NAWC), The American Academy of Wound Management (AAWM), and The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB). These and other certifying organizations require that candidates earn a two or four year degree in nursing and successfully pass the national licensing examination to become a registered nurse.
Experience or completion of an accredited wound care program is also a requirement to sit for the examination. The certifying bodies also require that nurses complete a specified number of continuing education credits to maintain their certification. These certification organizations require continuing education to ensure that wound care nurses have access to the latest information and treatments regarding wound care.
Wound Care Nurse Salary
Wound care nurses have a specific talent that is desired by many medical facilities. They usually earn more money than other types of nurses. There are many unpleasant aspect of being wound care nurses such as the smell and sight of untreated or infected wounds. Even seasoned wound care nurses have a hard time coping with this aspect of the job.
The benefits and the salary are excellent reasons to become wound care nurses. Helping others improve their daily lives by using medical expertise makes the job more fulfilling.
Certified wound care nurses with the registered nurse credentials can make average nursing salary of $62,000 annually. Experience can increase this number by $10,000 to $20,000 or more annually. Choosing to become a travel nurses who work in areas with a significant shortage of certified wound care nurses can increase the salary potential even more.
Wound Care Nurse Jobs Outlook
The need for certified wound care nurses is relatively high. Nursing jobs for certified wound care nurses are expected to increase between 10% and 27% over the next decade. Due to the nature of the work of wound care nurses, medical facilities are expected to need the highest number of certified wound care nurses. As medical advancements grow, positions are expected to grow in the field of nursing. Nurses that provide specialized care are highly desired by medical facilities, and they can expect higher salaries as well.
Wound care nursing is a relatively new area of nursing, but those who enter this area of nursing are highly skilled and certified to perform the important tasks of caring for infected or untreated wounds and for the patients receiving treatment.