Whether they’re just starting out in their career or looking to make a change, today’s nurses have a variety of settings and specialties to choose from. Understanding the pros and cons of wound care nursing can help determine if a particular choice is right for you.

Wound care nursing is a much-needed specialty for nearly every healthcare setting — including acute, long-term care, and home care. And unlike certain specialties, wound care nurses treat several patient populations with varying degrees of complexity and must understand how to manage different types of wounds.

Learning the pros and cons of wound care nursing will also help you understand how this role differs from other specialties you may be considering.

The Pros of Wound Care Nursing

  1. Teamwork: A large amount of nurse training involves teamwork within your unit or floor, but wound care nurses also rely heavily on multidisciplinary teams. Because wound care nurses are usually part of a larger patient care team, they partner with other departments and roles such as dieticians, physicians, and staff nurses. This level of teamwork is great for those who have strengths in communication and collaboration.
  2. Growing Demand: The U.S. nursing shortage has placed nearly every nursing role in high demand, and the wound care profession is no exception. In fact, wound care nurses are more in demand than ever due to the primarily older, high-risk populations they often work with.
  3. Increasing Salary: As the median age of the U.S. population continues to rise, an increasing number of people require wound care services, including treatment for pressure injuries. As demand grows, these professionals can expect a higher level of job stability and increasing salaries.
  4. Patient Connection: Because the wounds treated by a wound care nurse are often chronic, they require close monitoring for weeks and months on end to ensure they heal appropriately. This provides wound care nurses with the unique experience of witnessing their patients’ progress over time. For many, the joy they receive from helping their patients transform their lives is extremely rewarding.
  5. Convenient Schedule: Unlike staff nurses typically working 12-hour shifts, wound care nurses’ schedules most likely follow a more structured 9-5 weekday pattern, without working weekends or holidays. This flexibility is a benefit to many nurses looking to work shorter shifts.

The Cons of Wound Care Nursing

  1. Commitment: To become a certified wound care nurse, you will need to enroll in specialized wound care courses, requiring both time and money. Commitment is key, as wound care nurses must expand their skills on a yearly basis through continuing education courses and specialized clinical training. The amount of time it takes to become a wound care nurse varies depending on the healthcare professional and the level of experience.
  2. Risk and Liability: More than 17,000 lawsuits related to pressure injuries are filed each year, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). This is one reason that staying up to date on education is so important for wound care nurses. Their ongoing education provides nurses with the wound care information they need to remain current with evolving care standards, enhance their knowledge of skin and wound management, and stay legally defensible at bedside.
  3. Unpleasant Conditions: Patients with a diverse range of health conditions rely on wound care nurses to manage their treatment and keep them safe from infection. Wound care nursing is not for the faint of heart, as the specialty addresses burn treatment, foot care, and traumatic wounds, which can include foul odors, drainage, or serious infections.
  4. High Pressure: There is a growing mixed patient population with a multitude of needs, requiring wound care nurses to be prepared for almost anything. Also, wound care can be a relatively large cost to hospitals, so there is added pressure to meet quality metrics set by the organization.
  5. Detailed Documentation: As wound care nurses assess patients’ skin conditions and treat wounds, it is vital that the documentation and coding is clear, accurate, and consistent. Knowing how to correctly document wound care assessments and the actions taken protects the nurse and the organization. In terms of how to document a wound assessment, more details are always better, but this level of documentation can take some getting used to for new wound care nurses.

While wound care nursing has its pros and cons (like any specialty), this field is a highly dynamic, rewarding career choice for many healthcare professionals. Wound care education positions nurses as experts in their field, providing them with the skills to support a wide array of patients with high-quality care. When patients feel heard, respected, and cared for by an extremely skilled and knowledgeable healthcare professional, patient satisfaction ratings soar.

As the demand for wound care nurses grows, so does the interest in this type of training among new nurses, seasoned registered nurses, and nurse administrators. With a comprehensive understanding of wound care, these professionals are setting themselves — and their organizations — up for success.

Don’t miss out on what Wild on Wounds has to offer. Register today!

Natalie Vaughn

Natalie Vaughn has worked in marketing and communications for more than 15 years, with more than half of her experience dedicated to healthcare quality improvement. At Relias, she partners with physicians, nurses, curriculum designers, writers, and other staff members to shape healthcare content designed to improve clinical practice, staff expertise, and patient outcomes. She obtained a Master of Business Administration degree with a focus in marketing, driven by a passion for understanding consumer behavior, branding strategies, and leveraging thought leaders as innovators within a given industry.

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