Managing the care of slow-healing wounds is one of the many responsibilities of wound care registered nurses. Often referred to as wound, ostomy and continence nurses, WOC RNs often work directly with patients, teaching them the proper techniques to care for wounds. This may include anything from changing dressing to applying topical medications to spotting infections -- anything that promotes proper healing falls under their purview. Salaries vary by employer, education and experience.
In 2012, registered nurses earned an average of $67,930 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But this number reflects the salaries of all RNs, regardless of specialty or certifications. A survey by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society found that WOC nurses earned an average of $82,104 a year as of 2012.
As with any job, certain employers offer higher salaries to secure nursing talent. For example, outpatient care centers paid RNs $71,200 a year -- almost $3,300 more than the national average for the occupation. WOC RNs in this same setting earned even higher salaries, at an average of $84,332 a year. RNs working in home care averaged $65,530, while WOC RNs in home care earned almost $9,000 more, averaging $74,197 annually. At hospitals, RNs earned $69,490 and WOC RNs earned $81,641.
Level of education has long affected salaries, and a survey in "Nursing," a monthly publication for nursing professionals, found that the same holds true in the nursing industry. As of 2011, RNs with bachelor’s degrees earned an average of $64,400, while those with master’s degrees earned salaries closer to $69,500. Nurses in the WOC industry did much better. WOC RNs with bachelor’s degrees averaged $76,578, while those with master’s degrees averaged $89,665.
It should come as no surprise that experience affects salaries for nurses. With five or fewer years of experience, nurses earned $49,600 a year in 2011. WOC RNs averaged $64,922 as of 2012. With six to 10 years of experience, nurses earned an average of $56,800, while WOC nurses averaged $73,834 a year.
Interestingly, certification doesn’t impact salaries as much as you might think. WOC RNs with a WOCNCB certification earned $82,055 a year, on average. Those not certified, on the other hand, averaged $80,095 annually.
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook: Registered Nurses
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics: Occupational Employment and Wages, May 2012: Registered Nurses
- Nursing 2013: Nursing 2011 Salary and Benefits Survey Report
- Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society: 2012 WOC Nursing Salary and Productivity Survey
- WOCNCB: Wound Care Certification
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