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Do you love patient care but long for some autonomy in your nursing practice? Perhaps a leadership position in wound care nursing is the answer. Wounds are often the domain of one or more wound care nurses, as they are especially problematic for nursing departments, particularly those acquired during a hospital or facility stay. A wound care coordinator supervises these nurses, providing organizational leadership and management.
What Additional Certifications Are Required?
Wound care nurses focus solely on prevention and healing. The coordinator holds specific certifications in wound, skin, and ostomy care and is responsible for supervision of the wound care nurses. Wound care nurses may also have advanced certifications in this area, but their task is solely the everyday management, assessment, and treatment of wounds as ordered by the physician.
Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN) certification is the highest available to registered nurses. It is obtained through the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society, which requires completion of a formal WOC program. These require a bachelor’s degree or higher, at least one year of clinical experience following RN licensure, and clinical experience within five years of beginning the WOC program.
The Certified Wound Specialist (CWS) certification is sponsored by the American Board of Wound Management and is available to Registered Nurses and several other non-nursing health professions. Certification requires that the candidate have a bachelor’s degree and three years’ experience in wound care, or completion of at least a year-long fellowship that has been certified with a credentialing organization.
The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy offers the Wound Care Certification (WCC) to RNs and LPN/LVNs, as well as NPs and other allied health professions with an active unrestricted license. This certification requires completion of an education course that meets the Alliances criteria but does not specifically require a bachelor’s degree.
What Are the Responsibilities of a Wound Care Coordinator?
Wound care coordinators evaluate the success of treatment modalities, discuss nutritional needs with dieticians, and consult with medical directors, physicians, and plastic surgeons on healing progression and complications. Wound care coordinators develop and implement programs that focus specifically on skin and wound care. They also conduct interdisciplinary rounds with other departments whose areas of expertise intersect and potentially affect the patient’s potential for wound healing. Wound care coordinators and nurses usually meet regularly with the administration and nursing to update on the status of wounds as well.
How Do Patients Benefit?
Wound care nurses and the coordinators who manage them elevate the level of care for wounds by making that their sole focus. Without the full responsibility for a patient’s overall primary care, wound care nurses and coordinators are better able to focus on bringing their patient to an optimum state to facilitate healing. That’s a win for the facility, the physicians, the nursing department, and especially the patient.
Learn more about wound care nursing here.