Patients with a diverse range of health conditions rely on wound care nurses to manage their treatment and keep them safe from infection. But what exactly do wound care nurse duties include?

Wound care nurses perform a wide variety of critical services, from assessing diabetic foot conditions and mitigating infections to developing treatment plans and caring for pressure injuries.

The importance of wound care in nursing relates to the ability to reduce a patient’s pain and promote healing as quickly and completely as possible. To become a certified wound care nurse, you will need to enroll in specialized wound care courses. These courses provide 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.

But a wound care nurse’s education doesn’t end with wound care certification. Like all healthcare professionals, wound care nurses must expand their skills on a yearly basis through continuing education courses and specialized clinical training.

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 in hand, these professionals are setting themselves — and their clinics — up for success.

Wound care nurse duties

The wound care scope of practice involves a lot more than cleaning and dressing wounds. Chronic and acute wounds require the attention of experts equipped with the skills to monitor and assess wounds effectively while simultaneously educating patients on at-home wound care best practices. Here are just a few of the many areas a wound care nurse might address on a given day:

  • Pressure injuries: Pressure injuries are one of the most common types of wounds a nurse will deal with as a wound care provider. While pressure injuries occur in all care markets, they are particularly prevalent in both long-term and post-acute care environments—including hospice and home health settings—where patients remain sedentary for extensive periods of time. Wound care nurses assess pressure injuries, identify treatment options, and implement wound care best practices to prevent future injuries from occurring.
  • Foot care: Due to the prevalence of type 2 diabetes within the U.S., diabetic foot care is in high demand. Wound care nurses have the skills to manage foot ulcers in patients with diabetes. They also teach patients how to maintain a healthy foot care routine on their own, in many cases helping them prevent amputations.
  • Burn treatment: All burns, even first-degree ones, can be very painful for a patient. How a wound care nurse treats a burn depends on its severity (first-, second-, or third-degree), location, and size. Antibiotic ointments are commonly used in second-degree burn care to ward off infection. There are also a number of dressing options for a nurse to choose from when assessing and bandaging the wound, some of which may need to be changed more often than others. All burns must be closely monitored throughout the healing process.
  • Traumatic wound care: Skin tears, lacerations, and wounds that penetrate the tissue all fall into the traumatic wound care category. Whether caused by a dog bite, car accident, or some other force, the severity of these wounds is based on the damage to the skin and underlying tissue. All traumatic wounds must be cleaned and assessed. Comprehensive care plans created with appropriate treatment measures will ensure the wound heals correctly.
  • Educating patients and families: Education is one of the most important parts of any wound care nurse’s job. Through verbal instruction and hands-on training and demonstrations, wound care nurses empower patients and their families with a sustainable, self-sufficient care routine they can follow outside of a hospital setting.

Gaining satisfaction from a patient connection

Many nurses find themselves drawn to wound care nursing for the human connection it offers. Wound care nurses have the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships with patients and their families, working by their side during extremely difficult moments in their journey. With the right training, a wound care nurse can reduce a patient’s pain and help them heal as quickly as possible.

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.

Are wound care nurses in high 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 work with.

As the median age of the U.S. population continues to rise, an increasing number of people are requiring wound care services, including treatment for pressure injuries. As demand grows, these professionals can expect a higher level of job stability and increasing salaries.

Taking the next step in wound care

Wound care 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.

Understanding wound care nurse duties can help you decide whether this path might be right for you. Taking the next step to pursue wound care education can open new opportunities in your career, benefiting your organization and patients as well.

Take our engaging, evidence-based Wound Care Certification Courses for nurses, registered dietitians, physical therapists, and more professionals. Choose the format that suits you and get access to tools to help you ace your exam.

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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