Caring for wounds is tough work. It takes a certain kind of nurse to work in this field. You have to care about doing what it takes to help patients heal. The payoff is that there’s a potential for connection with long-term patients, and you get to play a vital role in the healing and comfort for those in your care.
In this blog post, we will explore the following:
- What is a wound care nurse?
- What skills does a wound care nurse need?
- How do you become wound care certified?
- Where do wound care nurses work?
- How much do wound care nurses make?
What is a wound care nurse?
The wound care nurse is a specialist who assesses and treats skin breakdowns, wounds, pressure ulcers, ostomies, and more. They also help create treatment plans for patients to follow to heal their injuries and prevent them from re-emerging. Wound care nurses also collaborate with other nurses and doctors to ensure that the treatment plan is being carried out effectively.
Wound care nurses perform many different tasks throughout the day. Their work typically depends on where they work and their patient load. The standard duties of a wound care nurse include:
- Assessing and monitoring wounds
- Cleaning and bandaging wounds to remove bacteria and reduce the chances for infection
- Collaborating with treatment teams to decide if antibiotics, surgery, hyperbaric oxygen therapy, or other treatments are needed
- Educating patients and caregivers on how to treat and dress wounds to help foster healing and prevent further infection
- Work in ostomies, diabetic foot care, and more
What skills does a wound care nurse need?
A wound care nurse needs several skills to work in the field successfully.
Patience: Wound care nurses care for patients who are dealing with severe injuries and may be hesitant to follow through with their treatment plans. Some patients don’t comply at all. This can frustrate a nurse and make it seem like their work is not appreciated. As such, a wound care nurse needs to have patience with their patients as they partner in the wound care.
Compassion: Patients with wounds often feel defeated and scared about complications in the future. They need a nurse who is not only patient but also compassionate with them. It’s good to have a nurse who can connect and deal with patients respectfully and kindly.
Communication skills: Often, wound care nurses will have to speak to a patient’s family members to explain treatment procedures. They need to communicate effectively and clearly to the family members. Additionally, they need to have the capacity to communicate well with other members of the treatment team.
How do you become wound care certified?
There is a specific pathway to becoming a wound care certified nurse. Below are the steps:
- Obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
This is the first step toward becoming a wound care nurse. Your bachelor’s degree will take about four years to complete. You must attend a board-approved program with the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNB).
- Receive your RN license
Take the NCLEX-RN to become a registered nurse. This is a standardized test that goes over eight essential areas of care. These areas include:
- Management of Care/Coordinated Care
- Basic Care and Comfort
- Health Promotion and Maintenance
- Psychosocial Integrity
- Physiological Adaptation
- Pharmacological and Parenteral Therapies
- Reduction of Risk Potential
- Safety and Infection Control
The test costs around $200 if you want a license within the U.S. The RN exam has a minimum of 75 questions and a maximum of 265. RNs have six hours to complete the test.
- Pass the exam
Once you graduate from your nursing program, you need to pass the exam for the WOCNB certification.
- Complete continuing education
Nurses must continue learning new techniques and approaches. As part of the license renewal, nurses will have to complete continuing education units.
Where do wound care nurses work?
Wound care nurses typically work in hospitals. Specifically, they work in the:
- Operating room (OR)
- Critical care unit
- Inpatient settings where patients are bed-bound
Additionally, they can work for home health care agencies, nursing homes, or public health agencies.
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How much do wound care nurses make?
Wound care nurses’ salary depends on a host of factors from location, experience, and education. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a wound care nurse is $80,010.
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