While a wound may be cleaned and treated in a few minutes, it may take weeks or months to heal completely. As a wound care nurse specialist, you will work with patients throughout this process to speed healing, manage complications and prevent future problems. The primary step in becoming a wound care specialist is studying for and completing a wound care certification. Organizations offering this certification include the American Board of Wound Management, the American Board of Wound Medicine and Surgery, and the National Alliance of Wound Care.
Begin by obtaining your baseline nursing education and state license to practice nursing. Certification requires firsthand wound care practice under a mentor; an active nursing license is a requirement for this practice. You'll also need an active and unrestricted nursing license for certification exams.
Meet the certification eligibility requirements set forth by accredited organizations such as the American Board of Wound Management, the American Board of Wound Medicine and Surgery, the National Alliance of Wound Care, and the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board.
To demonstrate your experience in wound care, practice nursing in a position where clinical wound care is a major responsibility . The National Alliance of Wound Care requires 120 hours of wound care practice in the past five years. Provide official documentation of your experience from the chief of medicine or a similar supervisory position at your employer's. If your current job does not provide you with enough opportunity to participate in wound care, you can also gain this experience through a wound care training course or approved preceptorship program.
Complete an accredited wound care specialist training course. While this is not a requirement for those with clinical experience, it can help you keep current with state-of-the-art wound care techniques. Most certification bodies also offer regular training courses. The course offered by the certification body you choose will also be a key way to prepare for the certification exam.
Register for and pass the certification exam from the certification body of your choice and provide the required documentation of licensure and experience. The exam content includes details of the wound healing process, possible complications, nutrition, wound monitoring, and treatment techniques as well as interactions with the law, education and other medical specialties.
Meet the continuing medical education requirements to maintain your wound care certification. You may also need to retake the exam to demonstrate that you're current with wound care techniques.
- Wound care certifications are also available for physicians, administrators and medical assistants.
- Certification requirements periodically change to adapt to new needs in the medical field.
- Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images