Nurse wrapping an elderly woman's hand in gauze

How to Become a Wound Care Nurse

Explore the Vital World of Wound Care Nursing

Nurse wrapping an elderly woman's hand in gauze

All nurses provide care for wounds, but a Wound Care Nurse specializes in more complex wounds. They work to prevent skin breakdown while evaluating, planning, and administering care for complicated wounds. In the healthcare system, Wound Care Nurses make a vital contribution to patient care and recovery.

In fact, did you know that millions of adults are affected by chronic wounds every year in the United States? Chronic wounds, such as lacerations or diabetic foot ulcers, can be painful and limit social activities, mobility, and quality of life. These wounds require specialized medical attention.

Other complicated skin wounds, such as severe burns, animal bites, or other traumatic injuries, may also require advanced wound care. Nurses who work in this specialized field of medicine are called Wound Care Nurses. With advanced training, they play an essential part in the treatment and recovery of their patients.

This blog post covers the duties, skills, and educational requirements for becoming a Wound Care Nurse. We’ll also go over salary information and the job outlook. Learn how to become a Registered Nurse and explore the best hospital nursing jobs to see if this career path is right for you.

Wound Care Nurse: Definition

What is a Wound Care Nurse?

These Registered Nurses specialize in treating wounds and even ostomy or continence care. They provide care to people who suffer from a number of chronic and acute wounds. Sometimes, these patients might be bedridden. It is their responsibility to assess and manage patients with wounds and related conditions or disorders. In this specialization, Wound Care Nurses promote wound healing, prevent infections, and improve patient outcomes.

Wound Care Nurse: Job Description

What Does a Wound Care Nurse Do?

Although it might sound simple, the role of a Wound Care Nurse is anything but: These professionals evaluate deep wounds, skin tears, severe burns, ostomies, diabetic foot wounds, pressure injuries or bedsores, and other conditions. Wound Care Nurses design a plan of care that other nurses follow. To prevent wounds from worsening, they also perform specialized procedures (i.e., removing dead tissue or cleaning wounds), educate colleagues, patients, and families on proper care, chart information, write nursing orders, and more.

As we previously stated, it’s vital that Wound Care Nurses possess effective communication and observation skills. These skills allow them to help develop and implement individualized care plans.

Wound Care Nurse: Duties and Responsibilities

Wound Care Nurses assist physicians in the treatment of severe wounds and help implement care plans to ensure optimal patient outcomes. It’s important for these specialized nurses to maintain up-to-date knowledge of wound care treatment modalities, such as new types of dressings, technologies, and medications.

Although no two days are alike, Wound Care Nurses typically perform the following duties:

  • Assess injuries, identify treatment options, and assist in wound care procedures
  • Assist in treating traumatic wounds like burns, lacerations, and animal bites
  • Treat pressure injuries caused by sedentary conditions such as hospice care
  • Care for issues with foot ulcers for patients with type 2 diabetes
  • Perform treatments such as negative pressure wound therapy and vacuum-assisted closure (VAC)
  • Sterilize, dress, and bandage various open wounds and burns
  • Educate patients and families on self-sufficient care outside of the hospital

Close up of medical equipment on a tray

Wound Care Nurse: Skills

Wound Care Nurses must maintain an important set of skills and qualities to thrive in their roles. Here’s a look at some of these key attributes:

  • Communication: Wound Care Nurses will benefit from superior communication skills, including written and verbal skills, as they discuss treatments with physicians and other healthcare professionals. When speaking to patients, they must relate information in non-technical, easy-to-understand language.
  • Enthusiasm: This trait may not come to mind at first, but it’s a great advantage for Wound Care Nurses to maintain positivity and enthusiasm as they treat patients and help to obtain positive outcomes. They should also be willing and motivated to learn about new treatments and medications.
  • Compassion: Nurses in this field who display a compassionate and caring tone when updating patients and families with status updates or recovery instructions will have an advantage. By showing respect and empathy for patients, they will be more successful in establishing a positive rapport. In conclusion, we can’t overstate the importance of empathy, critical thinking, and attention to detail in delivering patient-centered care.
  • Technical Expertise: Hands-on skills are essential. In this field, you’ll need to acquire the skills to perform technical procedures such as vacuum-assisted wound closure, negative pressure wound therapy, and other specialized treatments. In addition, don’t forget about clinical skills like wound debridement, infection control, and use of advanced wound care products.

Wound Care Nurse: Work Environment

Where Do Wound Care Nurses Work?

Wound Care Nurses normally work in acute-care hospitals or home-health settings. They may also work in long-term residential and skilled nursing facilities. In addition, Wound Care Nurses are often on call for these facilities, as residents can develop complex wounds any time of day.

There are various potential career opportunities for Wound Care Nurses, such as specialization in areas like diabetic wound care, burn care, or surgical wound management.

Wound Care Nurse Education & Certification

How to Become a Wound Care Nurse

Due to this highly specialized type of nursing, many Wound Care Nurses possess a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or higher. They have active RN licenses and specialized training. Additionally, certification is mandatory for these professionals. They must become Certified Wound Care Nurses (CWCN) through the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board.

You can choose from several types of certifications, which include foot care, wound, ostomy, continence, wound treatment associate, and advanced practice. Visit their website to learn about eligibility requirements for each kind of certification.

Because certified Wound Care Nurses must hold a bachelor’s degree, you can start by earning your BSN degree. A BSN program usually takes about four years to complete. However, the accelerated BSN program at Unitek College can be completed in three years or less.

Group of diverse nurses walking in a hallway

Wound Care Nurse Salary

How Much Do Wound Care Nurses Make?

Although the BLS doesn’t report salary data specifically for Wound Care Nurses, we can reference data for Registered Nurses (RNs) to provide a general understanding of the average salaries. In 2023, the average annual wage for Registered Nurses was approximately $94,000 per year.

Salaries for Wound Care Nurses can vary significantly based on the employer, experience, and location. Areas with a higher cost of living or in-demand healthcare facilities may offer higher pay to attract nurses. Experience also plays a crucial role in determining a Wound Care Nurse’s pay.

Wound Care Nurse: Job Outlook

What Is the Job Outlook for Wound Care Nurses?

Although the BLS doesn’t report job outlook data for Wound Care Nurses, we can refer to the projected job growth for Registered Nurses (RNs) to provide insights into the growing demand for Wound Care Nurses. The BLS anticipates a 6% growth in employment for RNs from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

Wound Care Nurses may also find opportunities for advancement, including positions such as a head nurse, assistant director, or director of nursing. Some leadership positions may require a graduate degree in nursing.

Your Journey into Nursing Starts Here

In summary, this article sheds light on the instrumental career path of a Wound Care Nurse. This profession is in high demand due to factors like the nursing shortage crisis. In fact, the BLS has reported that job growth is “expected across most types of healthcare settings, including hospitals and outpatient care centers.” In addition, around 193,000 job openings for RNs are projected each year throughout the next decade.

Wound Care Nurses promote healing and improve the quality of life for patients with wounds. Prospective Wound Care Nurses are encouraged to pursue the necessary education, gain experience, and seek opportunities for professional growth in the field of Wound Care Nursing. If you follow this path, you can find a highly rewarding career that positively impacts patient care and recovery.

Interested in nursing education? Unitek College offers tailored programs to help you transition into the healthcare field and become a nurse in a shorter duration. Start by checking out the LVN to BSN Advanced Placement Option for the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program. Our programs and pathways are designed to equip you with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful nursing career.

Join us today!