A certified wound specialist is a person in the health industry that has passed a rigorous examination offered by the American Academy of Wound Management. This credential of Certified Wound Specialist or CWS offers peer respect and can be beneficial to a health professional's career in the future. Becoming a wound specialist is demanding and a person must possess certain qualifications to be eligible for the exam. The background work and studying will be greatly offset by the pride of achievement of becoming a CWS.
Doctors, nurses, therapists and others in the health industry are potentially eligible. A background in wound care management is a must and should be a minimum of two years experience in wound care. The AAWM also has educational guidelines that must be met and normally calls for a Bachelor's Degree or higher.
Like most organizations that offer tests of certification, the AAWM is not able to directly endorse a study preparation package. There are numerous companies offering everything from practice exams, exam review books, DVD lectures, CD or mp3 lectures, CWS flash cards and other tools to help an applicant feel confident about their chances to become a Certified Wound Specialist.
Registering for the exam
An application and exam fee (currently $550) is submitted to the AAWM and once approved the applicant is ready to sit for the exam. The exam is offered at many testing centers at various locations throughout the United States.
The CWS exam
The exam is a multi- hour exam and consists of 200 multiple choice questions covering a wide range of subject matter:
Psychosocial disorders (4%),
General knowledge (13%).
It is important to remember that certain topics are more heavily weighted and to devote more study time to these issues. Obviously if the candidate is particularly weak in one area, they will need to focus more time to prepping for that area of the exam. Scores are mailed within 4 to 6 weeks from the testing date.
Why become a certified wound specialist?
Achieving the CWS credentials is important for many reasons. It demonstrates to patients, peers and potential employers that the certified person has the necessary credential for proper wound management, wound documentation, assessment and treatment. The respect and recognition for this achievement may open up new doors in a medical career.
Most professionals desire to achieve multiple certifications offered in their field of expertise and for those in the healthcare industry this is especially true. Perception of skills can often be as important as the skill itself. The extensive training needed to pass the exam and become credentialed as a Certified Wound Specialist demonstrates to the world that proper care is a priority.