Nursing Perspectives: What Makes a Wound Care Specialist?

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by Cheryl Carver, LPN, WCC, CWCA, FACCWS, DAPWCA, CLTC

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.

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