Wound Care Certification

Become A WCC

The Right Choice

When considering becoming a wound specialist through wound care certification, choose the credential that aligns best with your lifestyle. The WCC certification is the number one wound care credential in the United States. There are thousands of multi-discipline WCCs making a difference in the lives of their patients and improving the quality of wound care every day.

Eligibility for Certification

Applicants for the NAWCO WCC Certification Examination must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Active, unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physician OR Physician Assistant.
  2. Completion of application and required supporting documentation.
  3. Full payment of required fees.
  4. AND must meet ONE of the following options:
  1. Education Option
    1. Successful graduate of NAWCO approved “Wound Management Certification Training Course”.
    2. Documentation of active involvement in the care of wound care patients or in management, education or research directly related to wound care while actively licensed for at least two (2) years full-time/four (4) years part-time within the past five (5) years.
    3. Receive passing score on the NAWCO WCC Examination within 2 years of the approved course completion date.
  2. Certification Option
    1. Current active certification with Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB) as a “CWCN”, “CWON”, “CWOCN” or current active certification with American Board of Wound Management (ABWM) as a “CWS”.
    2. Documentation of active involvement in the care of wound care patients, or in management, education or research directly related to wound care while actively licensed for at least two (2) years full-time/four (4) years part-time within the past five (5) years.
    3. Receive passing score on the NAWCO WCC Examination.
  3. Experiential Option
    1. Documentation of active involvement in the care of wound care patients, or in management, education or research directly related to wound care while actively licensed for at least four (4) years full-time within the past five(5) years.
    2. Completion of sixty (60) contact hours in skin and wound care within the past five (5) years. To receive credit, the contact hours must be from an accredited provider of continuing nursing education by American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation (ANCC); or an approved course from American Physical Therapy Association, (APTA), National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO), Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME), or American Medical Association (AMA).
    3. Receive passing score on the NAWCO WCC Examination.
  4. Preceptor Option
    1. Successful graduate of NAWCO approved “Skin and Wound Management Training Course”
    2. Completion of a minimum of 120 hours of hands on clinical training with an NAWCO approved clinical preceptor after completion of “Skin and Wound Management Certification Training Course” (Please make sure your preceptor is approved by the NAWCO before completing any clinical hours)
    3. Receive passing score on the NAWCO WCC Examination within 2 years of the approved course completion date.(For more information on the Preceptor Option Click Here.)

PLEASE REFER TO THE NAWCO CANDIDATE EXAMINATION HANDBOOK FOR FULL DETAILS OF THE ABOVE

Credentials

Upon obtaining a passing score on the Certification examination, candidates may use the initials “WCC”, Wound Care Certified, to designate their status. Credentials are awarded for a five (5) year period. Upon expiration of the credentialing term, Certificants are required to recertify with the NAWCO to maintain their credentials.

Scope of Practice

Wound Care Certification | NAWCCB

The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy provides certification to various disciplines in healthcare.
The scope of practice for the Wound Care Certified (WCC) health care professional is performed in accordance with legislation code and scope of practice as determined by each respective professional state regulatory board along with prospective employer mandated guidelines.
The scope of practice established by the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy provides each certified health care provider with an understanding of their role and responsibilities as a member of the interdisciplinary wound care team. The WCC provides direct hands-on and/or consultative skin and wound management in all health care settings. As with any specialty, certification does not supersede state practice acts nor does it permit a clinician to practice beyond their individual knowledge or expertise.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN):
Role: The APRN works independently or in collaboration with a physician (according to state practice acts and facility/agency policies) to lead the interprofessional wound care team to plan and provide care for the patient at risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure, and facility or agency-based credentialing and privileging requirements to prescribe medications, order tests and treatments, and make necessary referrals.
b. Independently or in collaboration with the physician comprehensively assesses and establishes wound diagnosis, prognosis, and wound care treatment.
c. As a leader, provides oversight, assistance and guidance to other members of the interdisciplinary wound care team to establish and provide a comprehensive approach to wound management that includes all disciplines and promotes optimum outcomes.
d. Provides bedside treatments to include conservative sharp debridement, when indicated and permitted by state practice acts and facility policy.
e. Independently, or in collaboration with other interdisciplinary wound care team members, develops and implements wound prevention, skin management, and wound treatment programs and provides corresponding education to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff.
f. Collaborates with other wound care professionals to promote research and assess findings to establish updated, relevant approaches to improve wound prevention and wound care practices.
g. Collaborates with other wound care team members to promote the facility or agency quality improvement program.
Registered Nurse (RN):
Role: The RN plays a key role in oversight of the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure.
b. Develops and implements wound prevention, skin management, and wound treatment programs and provides corresponding education to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff.
c. In conjunction with prescribing providers orders (physician, APRN, physician assistant), provides consultation and/or hands-on care for wound prevention or management. Performs comprehensive assessments and reassessments to determine the most appropriate and cost-effective use of wound management products and resources. Hands-on care may include conservative sharp debridement/chemical cauterization with a provider order, per facility guidelines and if allowed according to individual state practice act.
d. Delegates appropriate wound prevention and wound care actions to LPN/LVNs and unlicensed assistive personnel (e.g. health technicians, nursing assistants).
e. As an interdisciplinary wound care team member, collaborates to establish individualized, comprehensive care plans that promote wound prevention and healing.
f. Establishes, re-evaluates and revises facility policies, procedures, and guidelines governing wound care, based on needs, evidenced-based trends, and industry changes.
g. Observes patient’s response and wound status, reporting any changes to the provider or supervising clinician, according to facility or agency guidelines.
h. Provides and reinforces education to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff regarding preventative measures, interventions, and individualized patient treatment plans.
i. As a patient advocate, promotes facility/agency-based quality improvement that addresses wound prevention and the specialized complex needs of the wound care patient.
Licensed Practical Nurse/Licensed Vocational Nurse (LPN/LVN):
Role: Under the supervision, delegation, and guidance of the registered nurse or prescribing provider (e.g. physician, APRN, or physician’s assistant), the LPN/LVN provides the prescribed care to the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure.
b. As an interdisciplinary wound care team member, provides input for care plan consideration
that promotes wound prevention and healing.
c. Implements preventative care, monitors skin status, and performs wound treatments per orders in the individualized patient’s treatment plan.
a. Provides and reinforces education to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff that is consistent with the established care plan for preventative measures, interventions, and individualized patient treatments.
d. Observes patient’s response and wound status, reporting any changes to the registered nurse or supervising clinician, according to facility or agency guidelines.
e. Contributes to the facility or agency quality improvement program, as assigned.
Physical Therapist (PT)/Occupational Therapist (OT):
Role: The PT and OT plays a key role in oversight of the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: wound care patient working under the guidance of a prescribing provider (e.g. physician, APRN, Physician’s Assistant).
Responsibilities include but not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure.
b. As part of the interdisciplinary wound care team, contributes to the establishment and revision of the individualized, comprehensive care plan to promote wound prevention and healing, provides input for care plan consideration and implementation per established protocols.
c. In conjunction with prescribing providers orders (physician, APRN, physician assistant), provides consultation and/or hands-on care for wound prevention or management.
d. Delegates appropriate actions for adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration, as part of an established individualized plan of care, to PT assistants and OT assistants.
e. Assesses, recommends, and provides adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration within the state’s scope of practice for therapy clinicians.
f. Assesses and makes recommendations for support surface selection.
g. Provides and reinforces education, consistent with therapy-related aspects of the individualized care plan (e.g. proper positioning, mobility), to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff.
h. Observes patient’s response and wound status, reporting any changes to the supervising clinician, according to facility or agency guidelines.
i. Contributes to the facility or agency quality improvement program, as assigned.
Physical Therapy Assistant (PTA):
Role: The PTA plays a key role in oversight of the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: wound care patient working under the supervision of a Physical Therapist (PT).
Responsibilities include but not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure.
b. As part of the interdisciplinary wound care team, contributes to the establishment and revision of the individualized, comprehensive care plan to promote wound prevention and healing, provides input for care plan consideration and implementation per established protocols.
c. In conjunction with prescribing provider’s orders (physician, APRN, physician assistant), and supervision of the PT, provides consultation and/or hands-on care for wound prevention or management.
d. Initiates appropriate actions for adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration, as part of an established individualized plan of care, and as directed by to PT.
e. Assesses, recommends, and provides adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration within the state’s scope of practice for PTA’s.
f. Assesses and makes recommendations for support surface selection.
g. Provides and reinforces education, consistent with therapy-related aspects of the individualized care plan (e.g. proper positioning, mobility), to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff.
h. Observes patient’s response and wound status, reporting any changes to the supervising clinician, according to facility or agency guidelines.
i. Contributes to the facility or agency quality improvement program, as assigned.
Occupational Therapy Assistant/Licensed (OTA) Role: The OTA plays a key role in oversight of the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to: wound care patient working under the supervision of a Occupational Therapist (OT) Responsibilities include but not limited to: a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure. b. As part of the interdisciplinary wound care team, contributes to the establishment and revision of the individualized, comprehensive care plan to promote wound prevention and healing, provides input for care plan consideration and implementation per established protocols. c. In conjunction with prescribing provider’s orders (physician, APRN, physician assistant), and supervision of the OT, provides consultation and/or hands-on care for wound prevention or management. d. Initiates appropriate actions for adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration, as part of an established individualized plan of care, and as directed by to OT. e. Assesses, recommends, and provides adjunctive modalities specific to therapy administration within the state’s scope of practice for OTA’s. f. Assesses and makes recommendations for support surface selection. g. Provides and reinforces education, consistent with therapy-related aspects of the individualized care plan (e.g. proper positioning, mobility), to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff. h. Observes patient’s response and wound status, reporting any changes to the supervising clinician, according to facility or agency guidelines. i. Contributes to the facility or agency quality improvement program, as assigned.
Physician:
Role: The physician works independently or in collaboration with an APRN/PA to lead the interdisciplinary wound care team to plan and provide care for the patient at-risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but not limited to:
b. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure, and facility or agency-based credentialing and privileging requirements to provide patient care.
c. Independently or in collaboration with the APRN or PA, the physician establishes wound diagnosis, prognosis, and wound care treatment.
d. Orders appropriate referrals and tests, when indicated.
e. As a leader, provides oversight, assistance and guidance to other members of the interdisciplinary wound care team to establish a comprehensive approach to wound management that includes all disciplines and promotes optimal outcomes.
f. Collaborates with the APRN, PA, RN and other wound care team members to develop a wound prevention plan.
g. Provides bedside treatments to include conservative sharp debridement when needed.
h. Works with the interdisciplinary team to educate patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff regarding preventative measures, interventions, and individualized patient treatment plans.
i. Collaborates with other wound care professionals to promote research and assess findings to establish updated, relevant approaches to improve wound prevention and wound care practices.
f. Collaborates with other wound care team members to promote the facility or agency quality improvement program.
Physician Assistant (PA):
Role: The PA works independently or in collaboration with a physician (according to state practice acts and facility/agency policies) to lead the interprofessional wound care team to plan and provide care for the patient at risk of or with wound care needs. Responsibilities include but are not limited to:
a. Abides by state practice acts, regulations, and laws established within the state/states of licensure, and facility or agency-based credentialing and privileging requirements to prescribe medications, order tests and treatments, and make necessary referrals.
b. Independently or in collaboration with the physician comprehensively assesses and establishes wound diagnosis, prognosis, and wound care treatment.
c. As a leader, provides oversight, assistance and guidance to other members of the interdisciplinary wound care team to establish and provide a comprehensive approach to wound management that includes all disciplines and promotes optimum outcomes.
d. Provides bedside treatments to include conservative sharp debridement, when indicated and permitted by state practice acts and facility policy.
e. Independently, or in collaboration with other interdisciplinary wound care team members, develops and implements wound prevention, skin management, and wound treatment programs and provides corresponding education to patients, family members/caregivers, and facility/agency staff. ,
f. Collaborates with other wound care professionals to promote research and assess findings to establish updated, relevant approaches to improve wound prevention and wound care practices.
g. Collaborates with other wound care team members to promote the facility or agency quality improvement program.

NAWCO Approved Skin and Wound Management Certification Training Course

Skin and Wound Management Certification Training Course
Offered by: Wound Care Education Institute

Wound Care Education Institute
www.wcei.net

Content of Examination

The certification exam is an objective, multiple choice test consisting of up to 110 questions and is available in a computerized format or paper & pencil format with a total testing time of two (2) hours. A passing score is required to become certified.*

The questions for the certification examination are prepared by the NAWCO Certification Committee and teams of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The examination questions are written to assess cognitive levels of knowledge, comprehension, application and analysis related to skin and wound management. The content for examination questions is based upon job practice analyses conducted to ensure the content is current, job-related and representative of the responsibilities of wound care practitioners. Each question is subjected to editing for grammar, bias and technical adequacy by experts from the testing agency. For detailed content listing see the Candidate Handbook.

The examination is weighted in approximately the following breakdown:

Structures and functions of normal skin 5%
Identification and management of risk factors impacting skin integrity 10%
Wound healing process 15%
Patient assessment, data collection and analysis 20%
Wound etiology and description 20%
Treatment administration and management 20%
Education and Training 5%
Legal, Ethics, and Policy 5%

*The passing score is based upon recommendations from statistical analysis performed by the testing corporation, and is set by the NAWCO Certification Committee.

References for Study

The following reference list may be helpful in preparing for the examination. This list does not attempt to include all the acceptable references available, nor is the examination based solely on these sources. The NAWCO does not sponsor or endorse any one reference over another. Some of the references can be accessed online, while others are available at local book stores.

Please be aware that there are many websites selling products that claim to be “study guides” or books that will assist you in passing the WCC exam. Before you purchase anything that claims to assist you in passing the WCC exam, please call our offices at 877-922-6292 to inquire whether or not this is a legitimate website or product. There are not currently any publications that we endorse or approve for this purpose.

Clinical Guide to Wound Care, Sixth Edition, Cathy Thomas Hess, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Publishers, 2008.

Acute and Chronic Wounds: Current Management Concepts, Third Edition, Ruth A Bryant and Denise P Nix, Mosby, Inc. Publisher, 2007.

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Secrets, Catherine Milne, Lisa Q. Corbett, and Debra Duboc; Publisher Hanley & Belfus, 2002.

Wound Care: A Collaborative Practice Manual for Health Professionals, Third Edition, Carrie Sussman, Barbara Bates Jensen, Publisher: Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins, 2007.

Advances in Skin & Wound Care Journal, Published by Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.

Ostomy/Wound Management Journal, Published by HMP Communications.

Examination Administration

The Wound Care Certification Examination is sponsored by the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy. The independent NAWCO Certification Committee has been established to develop and maintain the WCC certification program and all its essential activities. Computerized versions of the examination are administered at computer based testing facilities managed by PSI Services, LLC Computer Testing. PSI Services, LLC maintains testing sites throughout the United States and in other countries. Proctored paper and pencil examinations are available in various scheduled locations around the US. You can view testing centers near you at www.psiexams.com

Accommodation Procedures

An applicant may request a change in examination procedures or process due to disability, handicap, or other reason. The forms, “Request for Special Accommodations and Documentation of Disability Needs”, located in the Candidate Handbook, must be completed and received before the deadline of the requested examination date. The request must be specific as to the nature of the problem. The applicant is responsible for demonstrating that the request should be granted

Examination Results

Your exam results will indicate “Pass” or “Fail“.

Official results are reported in written form only, in person or by U.S. mail. Results are not reported over the telephone or by facsimile. Candidates taking the computerized version of the examination will receive their results immediately following the completion of the exam. Candidates taking the paper and pencil version of the exam will have the option to receive their exam results by email within 7-10 business days of the exam date. This option will be offered at the time of the examination.

Examination Disclosure

The examination and answer sheets remain solely the property of the NAWCO®. These materials are confidential and are not available for review by any person or agency for any reason.

Review of Examinations

For security reasons, examination materials are not available for review. Neither the testing corporation nor the NAWCO will discuss specific questions on any of the examinations. Comments about questions should be directed in writing to the NAWCO Certification Committee. The NAWCO will review comments relating to the exam but will not make a written response to comments. Candidates who believe their examination results were improperly recorded or their examination graded inaccurately may ask that their examination be hand scored. To request examination hand scoring individuals should complete a signature form available from NAWCO headquarters.

The nationally accredited WCC certification is the number one wound care credential in the United States

Confidentiality

NAWCO strictly protects the security of your personal information and honors your choices for its intended use. We carefully protect your data from loss, misuse, unauthorized access or disclosure, alteration, or destruction. Though we make every effort to preserve us er privacy, we may need to disclose personal information when required by law wherein we have a good-faith belief that such action is necessary to comply with a current judicial proceeding, a court order or legal process. Otherwise, your personal information is never shared outside the company without your permission. Inside the company, data is stored in password controlled servers with limited access.

Retesting Policy

Candidates who take the certification examination and are unsuccessful may retake the examination for a total of three (3) additional re-examination attempts. Time limits apply, please see the WCC Candidate Examination Handbook for full details. Candidates who are unsuccessful after a total of four attempts are required to wait one (1) year after their final attempt before reapplying and retaking the examination. Candidates are encouraged to self-study or attend a wound management training course during this time. Unsuccessful candidates are not eligible for any refunds.

Appeals

Individuals may appeal decisions regarding eligibility, examination results, and disciplinary matters made by the NAWCO Certification Program by submitting a written letter of appeal to the NAWCO Certification Committee within thirty (30) days of the NAWCO decision or action that is being appealed. Certificants may request a copy of the appeal policy by contacting the NAWCO office.

Certification Certificate

The NAWCO will award an official numbered certificate to all candidates upon passing the certification exam, denoting status as WCC, Wound Care Certified.

Recertification

Upon expiration of the WCC certification, credentials can be reinstated by retraining, continuing education or examination. For recertification details click here.

Examination Statistics

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
Number of exam takers 2435 2656 2250 2162 2341
Number certified 1807 1979 1694 1643 1741