Wound Care Certification
The Wound Care Certification (WCC) was created by the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO), a professional certification organization which was founded in 2002. The WCC credential has received accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
Function of the Test
The WCC credential recognizes expertise in wound care, including topics such as patient assessment, wound healing processes, wound etiology, and treatment management.
In order to be eligible to earn the WCC credential, candidates must hold an active unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physician, or Physician Assistant. Candidates must also meet an educational, certification, experiential, or preceptor eligibility requirement.
Because candidates must already be licensed medical professionals, certification in Wound Care does not confer any additional licensure privileges. However, certification is beneficial as an exercise in professional development, motivating candidates to improve their skills and abilities and enhancing their future career prospects.
In 2013, 2250 candidates took the exam, of whom 1694 (75.3%) passed.
The WCC exam is primarily administered at PSI Computer Testing centers. Paper and pencil examinations are also available in various other locations.
The fee to take the examination is $330, which includes a $300 certification fee and a $30 processing fee.
Both the computer-based and the paper and pencil version of the exam consist of 100 to 110 questions and have a two-hour time limit. Candidates who take the computer-based test receive immediate test results, and examination results are e-mailed to all candidates within seven to ten business days of the exam date. Unsuccessful candidates who wish to retake the WCC exam must pay all applicable examination fees. There is no minimum waiting period between retests, but candidates are are limited to three reexamination attempts within two years. After a total of four failed examinations, a candidate must wait one full year before being allowed to take the exam again.
Candidates with disabilities who require special testing accommodations must submit a request for special accommodations along with documentation of disability needs to NAWCO at least six weeks prior to the intended testing date.
The Wound Care Certification Exam is made up of eight main focuses: Structures and functions of normal skin; Identification and management of risk factors impacting skin integrity; Wound healing process; Patient assessment, data collection and analysis; Wound etiology and description; Treatment administration and management; Education and training; and Legal, ethics, and policy. The exam has 100 questions having to do with these eight topics, along with an additional 10 pretest questions that will not be scored. All 110 questions are multiple choice.
Candidates are expected to arrive in a timely manner to the testing site. For admission, candidates must present a government issued photo identification. No bags, heavy coats, back packs, etc. are allowed into the examination room. The WCC contains multiple choice questions that come in either a computer-based format or a paper and pencil format.
- Sample Wound Care Certification Test Questions
- Which of the following is the correct procedure for applying Eutectic Mixture of Local Anesthetics (EMMLA Cream) to a wound prior to debridement?
- A. Apply a thin layer (1/8 inch thick) to the wound for 15 minutes, leaving the wound open
- B. Apply a thick layer (1/4 inch thick) to the wound, extending 1/2 inch past the wound onto surrounding tissue, and cover with plastic wrap for 20 to 60 minutes
- C. Apply a thick layer (1/4 inch thick) to the wound surface only and cover with plastic wrap for 15 minutes
- D. Apply a thin layer (1/8 inch thick) to the wound surface only and cover with a loose dry dressing for 20 to 60 minutes
- Which of the following is the most definitive method for obtaining a wound specimen for culture and sensitivities?
- A. Tissue biopsy
- B. Sterile swab of wound
- C. Needle biopsy
- D. Sterile swab of discharge
- The method of closure that involves leaving the wound open and allowing it to close naturally through granulation and epithelialization is healing by:
- A. Primary or first intention
- B. Secondary or second intention
- C. Tertiary or third intention
- D. Quaternary prevention
- Which of the following indicates that sharp instrument debridement must be discontinued?
- A. Purulent discharge occurs
- B. Black eschar is removed
- C. Pain and bleeding occur
- D. Patient complains of fatigue
- Which of the following is the primary goal in referring a patient for multidisciplinary consultation?
- A. Prevention of complications
- B. Treatment of complications
- C. Education
- D. Identification of outcomes
- What is the most common cause of shear?
- A. "Sheet burn"
- B. Elevating the head of the bed >30 degrees
- C. Lifting the patient with a pull sheet
- D. Turning the patient side to side
- Which of the following characteristics indicates venous insufficiency?
- A. Pain ranges from intermittent to severe constant.
- B. Pulses are absent or weak.
- C. Brownish discoloration is evident about ankles and anterior tibial area
- D. Rubor occurs on dependency and pallor on foot elevation.
- Which of the following is characteristic of Charcot's arthropathy (Charcot's foot)?
- A. Severe pain and inflammation
- B. High arch and hypersensitivity
- C. Muscle spasms, increased pain, and inflammation
- D. Weak muscles, reduced sensation, inflammation, and collapsed arch
- A patient with venous insufficiency requires compression therapy and has Unna’s boot applied but must be on bed rest for four weeks. Which action is correct?
- A. Continue Unna's boot therapy during bed rest, but change 2 times weekly
- B. Continue Unna's boot therapy, but keep leg elevated
- C. Discontinue Unna's boot therapy during the bed rest period
- D. Continue Unna's boot therapy, but change only every 2 weeks
The WCC exam comprises 100 scored multiple-choice questions and up to 10 unscored, unmarked pretest questions which are being assessed for inclusion on future versions of the WCC.
The content on the WCC exam is distributed as follows:
|Distribution of questions on the WCC exam|
|Content Area|| #|
|Structures & functions of normal skin||5|
| Identification & management of risk factors
impacting skin integrity
|Wound healing process||15|
|Patient assessment, data collection & analysis||20|
|Wound etiology & description||20|
|Treatment administration & management||20|
|Education & training||5|
|Legal, ethics & policy||5|
NAWCO does not publish specific information about the exam scoring process or the passing score. However, it claims that the passing score is "based upon recommendations from statistical analysis performed by the testing corporation." Typically, this sort of statistical analysis is conducted for criterion-referenced examinations, meaning that the passing score is determined by assessing the difficulty level of every individual question and determining what percentage of minimally qualified candidates would answer each question correctly. The passing score in a criterion-referenced examination represents the lowest acceptable level of knowledge required to earn the credential. Because each version of the exam differs slightly in difficulty, scores on criterion-referenced examinations are scaled to take difficulty into account so that candidates who take easier versions of the test do not receive an unfair advantage over candidates who take more difficult versions of the test.
In 2013, the pass rate for the WCC exam was 75.3%.
Answers to Sample Questions
1;B 2;A 3;B 4;C 5;A 6;B 7;C 8;D 9;C
- Wound Repair and Regeneration. Wound care certification: The grin without a cat March 27 2015
- Marketing and Promoting Yourself and Your New WCC® Credential March 27 2015
- NAWCO - WCC Candidate Examination Handbook March 27 2015
- NAWCO - Wound Care Credentialing... The Mark of Distinction March 27 2015
- NAWCO - Wound Care Certification March 27 2015
- NAWCO - WCC Certification FAQs March 27 2015
- WCC Handbook 23 April 2015