Unique journey to wound care leads nurse to rewarding career

wound care

Meet clinical instructor Ann Avery, RN, CWCN, LN, WCC

Carole Jakucs

By Carole Jakucs, MSN, RN, PHN

Many of us can clearly remember the best instructors we had during our education and training as clinicians.

These are the ones who inspire us to learn — with the ability to make learning fun and relevant at the same time.

And if we’re lucky, we’ll continue to encounter great teachers even when taking continuing education units and specialty certification courses during our professional life.

One instructor who embodies the traits of a dedicated educator and has a passion for teaching others is Ann Avery, RN, CWCN, LN, WCC, one of our clinical instructors on wound care.

Avery, who has been with the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) since 2015, began working in wound care in 1971 as a new nurse assigned to care for an injured construction worker at a rehabilitation facility.

wound care

Ann Avery, RN, CWCN, LN, WCC

“My patient was a young male, only a year or so younger than me,” she said. “He was digging ditches and electrocuted on the job when his equipment hit a 500,000-watt cable. His wounds were severe with giant pieces of flesh having fallen out and bone exposed in some areas.”

After treating this patient’s chronic wounds for about three months, Avery realized she was hungry for more knowledge and skills regarding the provision of wound care.

“His suffering was so profound,” she said. “I began to search for more information and training regarding wound care.

Avery continued to work as a nurse and had a baby.

Focus remains through different roles

In 1984, she took her first exam to become certified in wound care through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN). She passed, earning her first wound care certification — the Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN).

Armed with certification, Avery plunged even deeper into world of wound care as well as managing cases. However, with the advent of health maintenance organizations (HMOs) at the time, Avery said she found her work could sometimes be very frustrating.

When calling HMOs for authorization on acquiring new equipment or providing certain treatments for patients, many of her requests were denied.

After experiencing repeated episodes of hitting roadblocks for procuring insurance approvals for her patients, it provided the impetus for Avery to learn more about the law as it pertains to providing wound care.

She pursued studies to become a legal nurse consultant at the University of California at San Diego, completing her program in 1992.

“After becoming a legal nurse consultant, I could respond to insurance denials for my patients with, ‘Did you know that this is a standard of care?’ ” Avery said. “This is what the patient is entitled to. It was very rewarding to help patients in this way.”

Wound care certification not only fulfilled Avery’s desire to increase her knowledge and skills in wound care, it also opened many professional doors.

In addition to her clinical work with patients, Avery advanced in the corporate world, working as a sales consultant for wound care product companies, promoted to regional manager, had tenures in corporate accounts and sales with a clinical-outcomes focus.

Making the transition to education

Avery has worked with companies such as Hill-Rom, McKesson and Derma Sciences to name a few.

In addition to rehab nursing and numerous other wound care-focused roles, other clinical positions Avery has worked at over the years include working in post-anesthesia recovery, home health, hospice and private duty nursing.

Avery also has:

  • Developed wound care programs for various long-term care organizations.
  • Created continuous education courses pertaining to the legal aspects of wound care.
  • Written policies and procedures regarding wound care for major corporations.
  • Spoken at numerous professional wound care conferences, including our WOW (Wild on Wounds) Conference.

Having been acquainted with WCEI’s co-founder Nancy Morgan, RN, BSN, MBA, WOC, WCC, DWC, OMS, when both were employed by Hill-Rom, Morgan invited Avery to work for WCEI as an instructor in 2015.

“I took the wound care course first, passed my exam, earned my WCC then became an instructor at WCEI,” Avery said, “I’ve also written blog posts for WCEI and well over 400 test questions and answers for the WCEI course exams.”

The commitment to help other wound care clinicians become the best caregivers possible is what keeps Avery in the teaching game, she said.

“I advise other wound care providers that if they are even slightly interested in getting certified, by all means go for it,” Avery said. “There is so much you can do with your certification professionally. I enjoy paying my knowledge forward to help providers make better treatment decisions and see improved outcomes for their wound care patients.”

Learn more about wound care today with one of our courses.

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Carole Jakucs, MSN, RN, PHN, is a full-time freelance writer. Her background in nursing includes tenures in healthcare management and as a care provider. She has worked in med/surg/telemetry, pediatric emergency department and college health. She’s a health and fitness enthusiast, studies dance and enjoys cooking.

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