WCEI instructor finds his niche in physical therapy wound care

physical therapy wound care

Many alumni of the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) will tell you they enjoyed their training — so much so they view the WCEI staff and fellow students as another type of family.

Carole Jakucs

By Carole Jakucs, MSN, RN, PHN

Part of what gives the institute that warm, welcoming feeling is the dedication to students and energetic style of teaching of one of its instructors: Bill Richlen, PT, WCC, DWC.

He is a clinical instructor with the Wound Care Education Institute (WCEI) and owner of Santa Claus, Ind.-based Infinitus LLC — a wound care instruction and consulting company.

Richlen began his extensive career as a licensed physical therapist 25 years ago and, almost simultaneously, found his work in physical therapy also involved caring for patients with a wide variety of wounds. He first discovered his attraction to wound care while still in his clinical practicum in physical therapy school.

“I did a six-week internship at a VA hospital,” Richlen said. “My first wound care patient was a paraplegic veteran with a stage 4 pressure injury. This was my first exposure to this type of wound. I had to help with his treatment in the whirlpool, submerging much of his entire body for his sacral wound. I soon realized they did not teach us how to care for wounds in PT school.”

Richlen’s path to becoming a physical therapy wound care expert

wound care

Bill Richlen, PT, WCC, DWC

Soon, Richlen found himself becoming increasingly involved in physical therapy wound care on a daily basis while working in long-term care at his first job right out of PT school.

“This prompted me to learn as much as possible about wound care with a goal of becoming an expert,” he said.

Helping Richlen with his objective of achieving wound care expertise, was the rehab director at his first job out of PT school.

“She coached and guided me in wound care, becoming a mentor for me,” he said. “She pointed out that she would teach me all that she knew. However, if I wanted to become an expert, I had to take courses on my own and outside of work, to learn more about the physiology behind how wounds form, how wounds heal and the various wound care treatments.”

An instructor with WCEI for 15 years and counting, Richlen also has worked as a clinical educator for physical therapy students and provided countless in-services for fellow staff at various healthcare organizations he has worked at over the years in both long-term care and home health care.

He also has served in management as a director of large rehabilitation departments in numerous facilities, and created his own company providing rehabilitation services to healthcare agencies.

Why he loves being a physical therapy wound care instructor

Richlen teaches the skin-and-wound management course at WCEI. He likes to point out his commitment to undertake formal training, become certified and engage in ongoing learning because it separates the wound dabblers from the true experts.

Educating and teaching others is a true passion for him.

“Public speaking and making presentations are my areas of comfort,” he said. “I like to share my knowledge and help other clinicians become better at providing wound care. I like to challenge my students, inspire them and motivate them to enhance their knowledge so they improve their skills as wound care clinicians.”

Richlen said he also likes the independence, flexibility and career opportunities that teaching and working with the WCEI has provided for him.

“Working with the WCEI as a clinical instructor has given me confidence and exposure to become a nationally recognized wound care expert in the industry,” he said. “I’ve been a featured speaker at large wound care conferences around the country, have been hired to conduct corporate training sessions, teach in-services to staff in various settings at different companies and also teach advanced wound debridement (sharp debridement) with my own company, Infinitus.”

As an expert in physical therapy wound care, Richlen also blogs regularly for WCEI. Read his posts here.

Take our skin and wound management course today!

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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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