Wound, ostomy and continence nurses, sometimes referred to as WOC nurses, specialize in the care of patients with acute and chronic wounds such as bedsores as well as patients who are incontinent. Most WOC nurses are registered nurses, although advanced practice nurses such as clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners also specialize in WOC care. Several specialty certifications for WOC nurses are available through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board.
National and Regional Salaries
According to a 2012 salary survey conducted by the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, WOC nurses working in the United States earned an average of $82,104 per year. Those working in the Pacific states reported the highest average regional salary, $94,735, followed by those employed in the Mountain states, $87,422, and in New England, $86,955. The lowest-paying region for WOC nurses was the East North Central region, at $74,155.
Pay Increases With Experience
The WOCNS found that wound ostomy nurses earned an average of $64,922 during their first five years on the job in 2012. The average salary for WOC nurses increased to $73,834 for those with between six and 10 years on the job and to $77,425 for those who had between 11 and 15 years of experience. The highest level of pay, an average of $89,192 per year, went to WOC nurses with between 36 and 40 years of nursing experience.
Other Factors That Increase Pay
Besides building experience, WOC nurses can increase their pay expectations in other ways. One is to become certified. The WOCNS reports that specialty-certified WOC nurses made an average of about $2,000 more than those who didn't have specialty certification in 2012 -- $82,055, compared to $80,095. WOC nurses who have managerial responsibilities make about $3,000 more per year on average than those who don't -- $83,670, compared to $80,498.
Advanced Practice WOC Nurses Make More
Advanced practice nurses are registered nurses who have continued their education by getting specialized master's or doctoral degrees in nursing. As of 2012, the WOCNS found that licensed clinical nurse specialists in the field of wound ostomy care earned an average of $90,523 per year, while licensed nurse practitioners in WOC care brought home an average of $91,303 per year. Level of education also makes a difference for WOC advanced practice nurses: those with a master's degree averaged $89,665 per year in 2012, while those who held a doctoral degree averaged $96,45 a year.
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