By Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC
As a child, I did my best to teach my stuffed animals. I lined them up perfectly, and set up my little card table and chairs. I couldn’t wait to grow up and become a real teacher. Teaching what, I didn’t know. Well, since then I have become a wound care educator for physicians and nurses. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about wound care education. Not education in terms of course curriculum, but education as the process of transforming one’s thinking and perspective.
What it Takes to Make it as a Wound Care Specialist
We profess that education is a steady growing process, made up of coursework and testing. But it’s the “aha” moments that show us something quite different. An “aha” moment can be defined as sudden comprehension that allows you to see something in a new light. In Oprah’s world, these are unforgettable connect-the-dot moments, when everything suddenly, somehow is changed. Connecting the dots builds confidence, and confidence gains respect.
Often times, nursing staff in long-term care receive on-the-job supervision and training. This may last from a week to a few months depending on their previous education and experience. The role of the wound nurse should be to acquire wound care knowledge as well as a strong understanding of general nursing concepts, patient care, along with anatomy and physiology. Because they make vital care decisions, they must be forthright leaders and thinkers with exceptional organization and management skills. Compassion, patience, and understanding are a definite plus. Wound care specialists must be lifelong learners to keep up with evidence-based practices. To promote optimal teamwork and achieve common goals, various medical staff members need to work together, including staff nursing administrators, RNs, LPNs/LVNs, nursing assistants, nurse practitioners, and physicians.
Wound education and management in the long-term care arena is a notable challenge for several reasons. First and foremost, residents in long-term care are at risk for developing wounds, and/or are admitted with chronic wounds. Furthermore, these patients are at high risk for delayed healing and development of infection. Lastly, resources can be limited in long-term care.
Become a Wound Care Nurse Mentor
While many health care professionals may desire to expand their wound care skills, educational funds are often limited to obtain more training, followed by certification. The knowledge and advanced skills gained through certification validate expertise in a specialty. Certification credentials display to employers and colleagues a dedication to the highest standards and accomplishment in wound care. Board certification is an endorsed formal recognition of an expertise level knowledge in wound management. Depending on the type of wound care certification, tuition and course costs can start from approximately hundreds to thousands of dollars involving an accredited program. With experience and education, certified wound care nurses may be promoted to roles as supervisors, administrators, advanced practice nurses, researchers, educators or expert consultants for public agencies or private businesses.
Be a wound care nurse mentor. Help those around you to strive for and achieve excellence as well. To be successful in any field, aspiring leaders require role models and guidance. Mentoring gives you the extraordinary opportunity to help health care professionals grow, by sharing knowledge you learned through years of experience. By becoming a mentor, you create a legacy that has a lasting impact. Not only will you gain the satisfaction of helping to develop the future of a wound care nurse, but you can inspire new ideas for generations to come.
"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
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.