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5 Strategies for a Successful Wound Care Certification Exam

November 25, 2014

By Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS

You've learned all you can about wound care. Perhaps you've been working in wound care for a while and have decided that you would like to pursue wound care certification to showcase your knowledge and give you a leg up at work (and perhaps a nice raise!). Here's how to go about preparing for the wound care certification exam.

1. Decide where and when you would like to take the certification exam

Before you begin preparing to take the certification exam, you will need to set a date and time to take the exam, as well as apply for the exam. There are several national certification examinations offered by the American Board of Wound Management (ABWM). The National Alliance Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO®) and Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Board (WOCNB®) also offer national certification exams. You can visit the organization websites to obtain information on writing one of these exams.

2. Allow yourself time to study

Set aside enough time each week to prepare for your exam. Decide when you are going to study and put it on your calendar. It's often more effective to study for a short time each day, rather than a long cram session once a week. If you work full time this can be tricky, but reviewing a small section of information for 20 to 30 minutes every night before bed can be helpful and means that you can cover a lot of ground without the need for hours-long study sessions.

3. Identify your weak areas in wound care knowledge

You probably have a good idea of what areas you need to hit hardest when studying. Perhaps wound physiology is tough for you to grasp, or anatomy of the skin has always been a challenge for you. Perhaps you have a hard time distinguishing among the different types of debridement. Although you should study all areas of wound care, you may want to spend more of your time reviewing information that you feel you are weakest in or that does not come easily to you.

4. Rest up before your exam

Once you have completed exam preparation and your test date is looming, plan your schedule so that you will be well rested before you take the exam. It is never a good idea to take an important exam after working a night shift! Make sure you can get a good night's sleep before you take the exam. If you must drive a considerable distance to an exam center to take the test, consider leaving the day before and sleeping overnight in a motel or hotel so that you are well rested the day of the exam.

5. Eat before your test

It may sound obvious, but it is important to eat well before you take the certification exam. Eating a nutritious meal will fuel your brain and prevent uncomfortable hunger sensations that may distract you while you are writing.

About The Author
Laurie Swezey RN, BSN, CWOCN, CWS, FACCWS, is a Certified Wound Therapist and enterostomal therapist, founder and president of, 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.

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