The decision to become wound care certified benefits not just your career, but the lives and outcomes of patients.
With more than 6 million patients in the U.S. affected by chronic wounds, according to Becker’s Hospital Review, enrolling in the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) can be an important addition to your nursing expertise.
Regenia Butler, RN, WCC, DWC, a telemetry nurse and member of the hospital-wide skin prevalence team at Methodist Health System in Dallas, Texas, understands this importance.
While working as a supervisor in home health in 2010, a staff member approached her about the idea of getting nurses in the organization wound care certified.
“I thought it was a great idea and jumped at the chance,” Butler said. “It has truly been a rewarding experience to become wound care certified. Not only did our team learn a lot about wound care — which greatly benefited our patients — we saw our business increase as a result. We received more referrals from physicians due to our staff being wound care certified.”
Wound care knowledge is power
Being wound care certified means access to helpful resources that can expand wound care knowledge throughout hospitals, health systems and other healthcare organizations.
“I’m asked to consult on many wound patients,” Butler said. “I sometimes get resistance from other staff members regarding my advice. When this occurs, the WCEI website and the Wound Central journal are some of my go-to resources to help educate fellow nurses and others as to the latest evidence-based treatments for the types of wounds we’re discussing.”
WCEI alumni also can join a closed Facebook group for sharing professional tips and information on wound care.
Bolster your career options
Nurses and other wound care-certified clinicians also have opportunities to become subject matter experts for special projects, as well as volunteer opportunities for focus groups and some WCEI special events.
“Our alumni made a commitment not only to their careers — but also to their patients by furthering their knowledge in wound care,” said Diana Ramirez-Ripp, CWCMS, manager of live events with the WCEI. “Some of our alumni go on to serve on boards of various organizations or open wound care centers. Once you become certified, you’re considered an expert in the field, which can increase the likelihood of more professional opportunities.”
Among nurses who have seen an increase in their marketability as a result of becoming wound care certified is Stephanie Mansfield, LVN, WCC, DWC.
Mansfield, a wound care coordinator at Willow Bend Nursing and Rehabilitation in Mesquite, Texas, was on Butler’s team when the decision was made to pursue wound care certification, she said.
Attending the WCEI’s annual Wild on Wounds conference each year since 2011 has been a great experience, said Mansfield, who also works as a home health wound care nurse for Bridgeway Health Services in Fort Worth, Texas.
“I took two courses and have two certifications from the WCEI and since then, I’ve had more opportunities in nursing,” Mansfield said. “WCEI cares about the nurses, PTs and physicians who attend these conferences. They want us to learn, and if they don’t have an answer to a question, they’ll get the answer for you.”
Ready to become a wound care expert?
Below are some continuing courses to help you get started. Become an unlimited CE member and receive instant access to courses for free! Click here for information on wound care certification through the WCEI.
Nutrition to Optimize Wound Healing
(1 contact hr)
Hippocrates observed that “healing is a matter of time, but sometimes also a matter of opportunity.” Are wound care clinicians missing a pivotal “opportunity” in the arena of wound care? In Western healthcare, we invest billions of dollars in medications and products to promote healing of wounds, yet many interventions generate suboptimal results. Nutrition, customized to the patient’s requirements, offers an opportunity not only to prevent wounds from developing but to optimize wound healing as well.
It’s Just a Stage 1 Pressure Injury. Or is it?
(1 contact hr)
Under pressure: just a blanchable event or an underlying injury? It can be much more difficult to distinguish a deeper tissue injury from a stage 1 injury when assessing darker skin tones versus very light skin tones. The National Pressure Ulcer Advisory Panel modified descriptive language from pressure ulcer to pressure injury in 2016. Since skin can look very different based on an individual’s skin tone, it’s important to fortify assessment skills with tips you can use to help prevent “missed” deeper injuries.
Wounds, Part 1
(1 contact hr)
Nurses in most settings frequently encounter acute and chronic wounds during routine patient care. Applying the appropriate nursing measures and carefully selecting the right wound care products promotes optimal healing. This program presents nurses with current concepts in wound care within the framework of the nursing process.
Wounds, Part 2
(1 contact hr)
The goal of treatment is to provide the optimum environment so wound repair can take place without interference. Nurses often must make recommendations for dressings. By understanding the indications, actions, and contraindications of products and their classification, nurses can effectively individualize treatments for each patient. This module describes the different categories of products and adjuvant therapies.
Diabetic Foot Ulcers Remain a Primary Healthcare Concern
(1 contact hr)
Despite recent improvements in patient access to medical care in the U.S., diabetic foot ulcers continue to be a prevalent health problem. Interprofessional approaches used to manage other diseases have also been shown to help prevent the occurrence of diabetic ulcers. In addition, understanding the pathophysiology of diabetic ulcers to enhance screening and prevention skills, appreciation of the principles of offloading, optimal wound care, and adjunct therapies may all contribute to prevention and healing of the vast majority of diabetic foot ulcers. Once healing is accomplished, the prevention of recurrent ulcer development is emerging as an important strategy for this at-risk population. Thus, education of both primary care providers and patients remains of paramount importance.