By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS
You want to become certified in wound care. That’s a great decision – the field is wide open and wound care consultants are in high demand. Wondering about the certification process and how you can write the exam? Here’s what you should expect at the wound care board examination.
Prior to the Board Certification Exam
Prior to writing the exam, you will need to ensure that you meet all candidate requirements that enable you to sit for the exam. This may include:
- Proof of unrestricted licensure as a professional in your field of study (i.e. RN, LPN, MD)
- A completed application
- Payment of any required examination fees
- Provision of any required supporting documents
Depending on which wound care board certification you are planning to obtain, you may also be asked to provide:
- Proof that you have taken (and passed) an approved certification training course
- Documentation showing that you have been actively involved in caring for patients with wounds, or involved in wound care education or research for a specified amount of time
It is vitally important that you provide the necessary documentation as requested by the examining board. Failure to do so may mean that you cannot become board certified, even if you pass the exam.
Preparing for the Test
No matter which board exam you are planning to take, you will need to have knowledge of the following areas:
- Anatomy, structure and function of the skin
- Risk factors that predispose to wound formation and impact on healing
- Phases of wound healing
- Assessment of the patient and wound
- Data collection and analysis
- Description of the wound/wound etiology
- Administration of wound treatments and modalities/wound management principles
- Ethics, legal issues and policies of wound care
- Wound care training and education
There are many resources that can be used to prepare for the wound care board certification exam. For a list of suggested wound resources, you can visit the wound care certification board site to which you are applying. Wound Educators offers a widely respected and comprehensive wound education course for health care professionals, regardless of your educational background.
Taking the Test
Depending upon which certification board examination you are taking, you may be required to travel to take the exam at a predetermined time with a large group of candidates, or you may have the opportunity to take the exam at an approved testing center near you at your convenience. Testing may be on paper if it is a proctored exam, or via computer if you are writing at a prescheduled time. You can expect your exam to take approximately 2 hours to complete.
Depending on the exam you are taking, you may have to wait to receive your results in the mail. If you take a computerized test, you may find out whether you passed or failed the exam when you are finished. Most certification boards allow candidates to rewrite the exam under certain conditions that should be spelled out clearly on their website.
Although each certification board varies in terms of testing requirements, there are similarities. It’s important that you research the requirements of the certifying board through which you would like to become certified. There are several known and respected wound certification bodies in the United States. You can view a comparison of the available wound certifications categorized by required license and academic degree here.
About The Author
Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS is a Certified Wound Therapist and enterostomal therapist, founder and president of WoundEducators.com, and advocate of incorporating digital and computer technology into the field of wound care.
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.