CWS: How to Prepare

In compliance with National Accrediting Standards, the ABWM does not provide review materials for the Certification Examination. It is the responsibility of the candidate to prepare by any means they feel are appropriate. Below are resources previous candidates have used to prepare for the certification exam:

CWS Practice Examination

The CWS Practice Examination is compiled from 75 test questions that have previously appeared on the CWS National Board Certification Examination. Use this Practice Examination to help gauge your familiarity with each of the five content areas of the examination, experience taking a computerized exam, review example content, learn more about the question format, style, and level of difficult.

CWS Content Outline

View the outline below by expanding the list. You may view the results of the National Job Task Analysis Study of the CWS HERE.

  1. Wound Healing Environment
    1. Anatomy and Physiology
      1. Integumentary
      2. Musculoskeletal
      3. Vascular
      4. Neurological
      5. Lymphatic
      6. Other systems (e.g., endocrine, renal, respiratorey, immunologic)
    2. Wound Healing
      1. Phases
      2. Cell function (e.g., signaling proteins, cellular mediators)
      3. Acute vs. chronic
  2. Assessment and Diagnosis
    1. History
    2. Physical Examination
    3. Wound and skin assessment
    4. Pain assessment
    5. Risk assessment
    6. Functional asessment
    7. Laboratory/Imaging
    8. Nutrition
  3. Patient Management
    1. Wound bed preparation/debridement
    2. Dressings
    3. Cellular and/or tissue products for wounds
    4. Topical agents
    5. Complications in healing (including local and systemic factors)
    6. Nutrition
    7. Biophysical technologies
      1. Electrical stimulation
      2. Ultrasound
    8. Compression therapy
    9. Negative pressure wound therapy
    10. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    11. Pressure redistribution (i.e., offloading)
    12. Surgical closure or tissue transfer
  4. Etiological Considerations
    1. Neuropathy
    2. Diabetes
    3. Venous insufficiency
    4. Ischemia
    5. Pressure ulcers
    6. Lymphedema
    7. Trauma
    8. Surgical
    9. Atypical wounds (e.g., malignancy)
    10. Dermatological
    11. Infectious
    12. Burns
    13. Edema (i.e., systemic vs. local)
    14. Pediatric issues
  5. Professional Issues
    1. Documentation
    2. Patient adherence
    3. Legal concepts
    4. Reimbursement and medical economics
    5. Medical ethics (e.g., palliative care, reasonable expectation of outcomes)
    6. Multidisciplinary teams
    7. Epidemiology
    8. Evidence-based practice and research

In addition to classifying by topic (above) items will be classified by task. Tasks that are eligible for assessment include:

  1. History and Physical Examination Tasks
    1. Obtain history of present illness (e.g., wound duration, etiology, previous treatments, medical reconciliation, and comorbidities)
    2. Obtain vital signs
    3. Assess:
      1. Circulatory system
      2. Integumentary system
      3. Musculoskeletal system
      4. Neurological system
      5. Limb volume
      6. Pain level
      7. Tissue oxygenation
  2. Evaluation and Diagnosis Tasks
    1. Assess:
      1. Wound healing status
      2. Factors related to delayed wound healing
      3. Barriers to the plan of care and expected outcomes (e.g., psychosocial, financial)
      4. Wound characteristics
    2. Evaluate:
      1. Wagner scale
      2. NPUAP (e.g., stages, unstageable, suspected deep tissue injuries)
      3. Rule of Nines
      4. CEAP classification
    3. Perform risk assessment
    4. Review or interpret laboratory and imaging test results
    5. Determine the etiology of the wound
  3. Treatment
    1. Establish goals
    2. Perform techniques to cleanse and reduce bioburden
    3. Debride the wound
    4. Apply dressings to the wound
    5. Manage at-risk skin and periwound
    6. Apply compression therapy
    7. Use advanced therapeutic adjunctive treatments (e.g., negative pressure wound therapy, ultrasound, hyperbaric oxygen)
    8. Apply offloading device for the lower extremity
    9. Use support surface for pressure relief/reduction
    10. Address the nutritional needs of the patient
    11. Address psychosocial or financial barriers
    12. Assist with or apply:
      1. Cellular and/or tissue products
      2. Tissue grafts and flaps
    13. Manage:
      1. Cellular and/or tissue products
      2. Tissue grafts and flaps
    14. Use advanced topical therapeutic agents (e.g., becaplermin, callagenase)
  4. Follow-up Care
    1. Discuss and review the plan of care
    2. Educate patient/family/caregiver on disease management and prevention
    3. Monitor laboratory values
    4. Refer patients to consultants/specialists
    5. Perform complete wound care documentation
  5. Professional Practice
    1. Coordinate wound care continuum of care
    2. Interpret research methodology and strength of evidence
    3. Follow confidentiality and security requirements
    4. Adhere to guidelines and regulations (e.g., professional, governmental, reimbursement, credentials)

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