Nursing Perspectives: What Makes a Wound Care Specialist? Protection Status
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Doctor's pocket


It is kind of funny to me, but we all tend to first take a gander at the alphabet soup on badges or business cards. But I ask you this, "Is this what stamps or marks us of all of our achievements?" There are many who think so, and that’s okay. There are numerous physicians and nurses that have earned international recognition, published books/journals, and even have lectured all over the world that do not have any type of wound care certification. Does this mean they are not a "true" wound care specialist?

How My Nursing Education Turned Into a Professional Journey

You see, despite my knowledge, skills and experience, I’m missing one thing. A little piece of paper certifying that I have spent four or more years of my life "learning." I’ve attended some college, but I have no degree. Being an LPN, I have been told over and over that I was an exceptional wound nurse, but without finishing my RN, I would never succeed. It really doesn't matter to that person what my reasoning is of why I didn’t finish. My life was put on hold eight years ago, when my boys' father had a severe stroke at 39 years old. Their dad had a mosquito bite, developed bacterial endocarditis, followed by a large stroke. This left him with right sided hemiparesis and expressive aphasia.

I made the decision to put my family first, being that our boys were still young. I didn't want my ex-husband in a nursing home, and continue to keep him out of one. I was a single mother, caregiving, and trying to juggle life the best I could. My RN was put on the back burner, but I never stopped striving for my goals. Yes, I can say I have probably worked twice as hard to get where I am at in my career, but I wouldn't change a thing. My drive and passion for wound care education is credited to my mother. She died in my arms at 47 years old due to complication of diabetes and pressure ulcers. I kept telling myself, "I cannot give up."

Validating Skills as a Specialist in Wound Care

I have validated my expertise as a wound care nurse over and over again. My wound care experience started in long-term care, then in wound and hyperbaric, and as a Wound Care Program Director and Trainer for physicians working in the long-term care arena in Ohio, California, Illinois and New York. My latest achievements are being an independent wound care educator consultant, awaiting my patent, and am currently writing a wound care guide for LTC.

Whether it is CEUs, reading wound journals, going to conferences, or a certification, you are LEARNING.

To employers, I say this: Formal education is not a measure of knowledge, skill or ability, and should never be treated as such.

To employees: Stop being sheep! If you have a dream, make it a reality.

About the Author
Cheryl Carver is an independent wound educator and consultant. Carver's experience includes over a decade of hospital wound care and hyperbaric medicine. Carver single-handedly developed a comprehensive educational training manual for onboarding physicians and is the star of disease-specific educational video sessions accessible to employee providers and colleagues. Carver educates onboarding providers, in addition to bedside nurses in the numerous nursing homes across the country. Carver serves as a wound care certification committee member for the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy, and is a board member of the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society Mid-West Chapter.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, Kestrel Health Information, Inc., its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.


I struggled with that very early on in seeking employment. I would be told my compensation was based solely on how long I had been licensed as a nurse, not based on my experience or possession of knowledge sufficient to mentor others in my field. I agree that certification is important and validates knowledge, but as my husband has reminded me multiple times, he probably could pass the NCLEX after a few of tries, simply by using logic. I think we fear judging a person's competency in abstract domains, because then we cannot "compare" one person to another. This, to me, is akin to standardized testing. Some of us do exceedingly well, some do not, but the ones that lag behind do not necessarily possess less knowledge! Keep on healing! :)

This is so inspiring! What a great read! No one should rely on alphabet soup to determine someone's expertise!!

We have to have a way to be certain indivuals possess the necessary knowledge needed to perform adequate care. I have worked with nurses who also have a lot of experience in daily care however lack the critical thinking skills or have not kept up on the most current information in the field in which they are working. I worked extremely hard to get my RN-5 children at home, 38 years old and often have heard LPN state they know as much or more than the RN they are working underneath. I always respond with -"She must not have learned anything during the extra 2 years of college" or "that is like if someone said to you the LPN that the certified aide knows as much as you" The main issue is standardized testing has to be done until we find a different way to make certain nurses know what they are required to know. I would bet if you started studying for the wound care exam you would find there is a lot you do not know.

Great sharing. in the Phils., we don't even have a formal course in wound care.
Learning cannot be stopped as we have the world wide web and for as long as we
are committed.

Having a degree in your hand won’t make anyone specialized, what matter the most is experience and time spend in actually performing the task. One learns from the experience only and in case of wound care too much care and experience is what that matters.

I loved Cheryl from the moment we talked and met in person. She is inspiring to all and still maintains a compassion of care for patient and everyone she meets I am glad to have here as my friend. Love ya Cheryl the Doplenganger

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