Ask the treatment expert: Should treatment nurses be certified?

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Q: Treatment nurses: Should they be certified? What type of education should they pursue?

A: I am definitely a proponent of education for treatment nurses. Continuing education is significantly important to all of us in long-term care, but especially for those directly involved in wound care.

Often, management will select someone to be the treatment nurse who has little to no education in this specialized area. With all the new wound care products and modalities available today, it can be overwhelming for someone with no preparation. Fortunately, numerous formal classes are available.

Wound care education centers offer onsite courses that generally are one week in duration. Other providers offer convenient, online education. Many of the wound care product manufacturers and product distributors offer incredible educational opportunities. I would tap into these resources, for sure.

In the March 2012 issue of McKnight's [p. 38], a feature article addressed the importance of wound care education. That piece offered several sites for certification for RNs.  However, the majority of wound care/treatment nurses are licensed practical nurses or licensed vocational nurses. Until fairly recently, certification for LPN/LVNs was not available.  WCC (Wound Care Certified) certification, provided by the National Alliance of Wound Care, and CWCA (Certified Wound Care Associate education), provided by the American Board of Wound Management, are both available for the LPN/ LVN. Group discounts may be offered for the classes.

The bottom line is that education is essential to ensure that treatment nurses know best practices and current products available to deliver state-of-the-art care. Certification demonstrates the nurse has gained increased knowledge and expertise, which fosters credibility and high-quality services.

Please send your wound treatment-related questions to Susan Wickard at ltcnews@mcknights.com.

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