Jonathan Musher, MD
A certified wound care practitioner is valuable to a skilled nursing center. “This doesn’t have to be a dedicated employee,” says Mary Sieggreen, MSN, APRN, BC, CVN, a nurse practitioner and wound care specialist. It can be someone several centers share. Especially in rural areas, it can be difficult to find someone with this skill set. A certified wound care specialist can help keep patients out of the hospital and get those who are in the hospital out faster.

If someone in the care center has a special interest in wound care, says Nancy Overstreet, DNP, GNP-BC, CWOCN, CDP, a geriatric nurse practitioner, he or she should be encouraged and enabled to pursue the certification. Sharing her personal story she says, “I was working in a nursing center, and we had some serious wounds that were difficult to heal. I knew that this skill would benefit our patients and our facility. It took 18 months, but I never regretted a moment of the time it took to become certified.”

“We have paid for nurses to get wound care-certified. When they completed their training, we would have a celebration for them. It helps them understand how important what they are doing is and that we appreciate them,” says Jonathan Musher, MD, CMD, medical director of The Village at Rockville in Maryland.

Centers should alert area hospitals if they have a certified wound care practitioner on staff, says Overstreet. “This tells them that your facility is positioned to accept and manage patients with complex wounds.”

Musher stresses that teaching should be part of every practitioner’s job. For example, he says, “I don’t just tell people how to apply the silver dressing. I show them how much to put on the cotton swab and roll it along the base of the wound. Then I watch them do it. Finally, I tell them I will be back tomorrow to watch them teach someone else how to do it.”