Wound care nurses often report to the VP Patient Care Services or Chief Nursing Officer and participate in the coordination of facility-wide programs for providing appropriate, consistent, and effective wound, ostomy, continence, and skincare to all hospital, wound clinic, long term care, home health care, or long-term acute care hospital (LTACH) patients.
Wound Care often involves the assessment and treatment of pressure injuries, diabetic foot ulcers, venous, arterial, and mixed etiology leg ulcers, and full and partial-thickness burns. The Wound Care Nurse often referred to as the WOC Nurse (wound, ostomy, continence care), is often the primary nurse responsible for managing ostomy patients and patients suffering from urinary and fecal incontinence.
The Wound Care Nurse provides direct care to patients, consultation to physicians and staff, and education to patients, families, and staff. The Wound Care Nurse sets patient care standards and ensures high-quality clinical outcomes. The Wound Care Nurse provides age and developmentally appropriate care to adult and geriatric patients.
Wound Care Nurses must demonstrate respect, excellence, appreciation, concern, and honor in all interactions with patients, families, and co-workers, and as identified in departmental and organization-wide behavioral expectations.
The Wound Care Nurse provides expert nursing care to patients and families with wound and skincare needs as well as ostomy and continence care needs. Wound Care Nurses analyze existing information in patient records, pursuing additional information as necessary, document the patient’s condition upon admission, through pictures and clinical assessment, and develops a plan of care in collaboration with the physician based on the patient’s needs and expected outcomes, especially in complex or unusual patient care situations.
The Wound Care Nurse implements those aspects of the patient’s plan of care for which the clinician assumes primary responsibility and oversees the implementation of the plan by other staff members.
Wound Care Nurses collaborate with interdisciplinary teams regarding specific patient needs, promote continuity of care between the institution and community, and facilitates patient and family participation in self-care based on age and developmental status.
The Wound Care Nurse participates in the evaluation of clinical practice through involvement in performance improvement programs, is responsible for setting, measuring, and achieving high-quality standards of care for this patient population, identifies opportunities for improvement, develops a plan for corrective action, and participates in department and facility committees and performance improvement initiatives.
Wound Care Nurses monitor wound care patients’ wound healing progress with weekly assessments and report wound healing outcomes to Organizational Performance Improvement Committees, as well as performs regular pressure ulcer/injury incidence and prevalence assessments and presents report and strategies for further improvement to Organizational Performance Improvement Committees.
A Wound Care Nurse develops methods for enhancing the quality of nursing care on a systematic basis to the adult and geriatric patient population with skincare needs, based upon national standards for WOCN practice.
Wound Care Nurses initiate system changes to promote optimal clinical practice and maximize staff interventions related to wound and skin care and promote cost-effective care. Wound Care Nurses also identify the learning needs of patients, primary caregivers, staff, and physicians related to wound, ostomy, and skincare, and teach patients and/or primary caregivers self-care related to wound and skincare. To support this effort, the Wound Care Nurse often develops programs to ensure consistency in staff follow through with the education program.
Wound Care Nurses often develop, conduct, and participate in formal and informal education programs for staff and assume responsibility for their own ongoing continuing education and professional growth to maintain clinical expertise. To do so, the Wound Care Nurse utilizes current research and clinical developments to support and improve nursing practice related to wounds, skin, ostomy care, and continence management. The Wound Care Nurse may also participate, as appropriate, in investigational wound care studies conducted within their healthcare provider organization.
Wound Care Nurses often identify their own learning and professional development needs and seek opportunities within and outside of their healthcare provider organization to meet these needs.
The Wound Care Nurse actively participates in collaborative practice meetings to ensure one standard of care for wound clinician practice across the care continuum and provides information and feedback to wound clinician colleagues on related clinical and professional topics.
Wound Care Nurses meet all employee requirements including but not limited to license renewal, TB testing, CPR, General Annual Review and Annual Clinical Validation, and performance evaluation, by demonstrating completion, or participating in the required activity prior to the expiration or due date.
The Wound Care Nurse is responsible for supporting a safe work environment for self and others, by understanding and implementing applicable patient safety goals, reporting unsafe conditions, and using appropriate safe work practices such as proper body mechanics and applicable safety devices (patient lift and transfer equipment, safety needles and sharps disposal, PPE, etc.)
Wound Care Nurses Maintain the confidentiality of the patient’s medical information verbally, online, and in writing and comply with all organizational policies related to computer use and system security. It goes without saying that the Wound Care Nurse must comply with HIPAA guidelines.
The Wound Care Nurse maintains the necessary analytical skills to develop methods of enhancing the quality of nursing care on a systematic basis, to assess clinical situations, to evaluate the effectiveness of the patient plan of care, and to identify and meet the learning needs of patients, families, and staff. Interpersonal skills are necessary to deal positively and effectively with staff, patients, visitors, physicians, and other personnel. Communication skills are necessary to develop and conduct effective educational programs.
The Wound Care Nurse must demonstrate expertise in managing patients with complex wound, ostomy, and skincare needs in a hospital, wound clinic, long term care, home health care, or long term acute care hospital (LTACH) environments, and must demonstrate effective teaching skills for small and large groups.
Wound Care Nurses may be Registered Nurses, have a bachelor’s degree in Nursing, and many Wound Care Nurses have a Master’s degree in nursing or a related field. Most organizations prefer Wound Care Nurses that have completed their WOCN certification or are in the process of completing their certification.