CWS: How to Prepare

In compliance with National Accrediting Standards, the AAWM 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.

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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. Vasular
      4. Neurological
      5. Lymphatic
    2. Wound Healing
      1. Phases
      2. Cell function
      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. Skin substitutes
    4. Topical agents
    5. Complications in repair (including bioburden)
    6. Nutrition
    7. Biophysical technologies
      1. Electrical stimulation
      2. Ultrasound
    8. Compression therapy
    9. Negative pressure wound therapy
    10. Oxygen therapy
    11. Pressure redistribution (i.e. offloading)
  4. Etiological Considerations
    1. Neuropathy
    2. Diabetes
    3. Venous insufficiency
    4. Ischemia
    5. Pressure ulcers
    6. Lymphedema
    7. Trauma
    8. Surgical complications
    9. Atypical wounds (i.e. malignancy)
    10. Dermatological
    11. Infectious
    12. Burns
  5. Professional Issues
    1. Documentation
    2. Patient adherence
    3. Legal Concepts
    4. Reimbursement and medical economics
    5. Medical ethics (i.e. 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 to include wound duration, causative event, previous treatments, medications and patient 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
      8. Wound bioburden
      9. Wound characteristics
  2. Evaluation and Diagnosis Tasks
    1. Determine classification of the wound using:
      1. Wagner scale
      2. NPUAP (i.e. Stages I-IV, unstageable, suspected deep tissue injuries)
      3. Rule of Nines
    2. Perform risk assessment
    3. Determine wound severity
    4. Review or interpret laboratory and imaging tests
    5. Assess barriers to wound healing
    6. Determine wound etiology
  3. Treatment Tasks
    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
      1. Negative pressure wound therapy
      2. Ultrasound
      3. Hyperbaric oxygen
      4. Electrical stimulation
    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 pain management issues
    12. Manage bioengineered tissue
    13. Use advanced topical therapeutic agents (i.e. becaplermin, collagenase)
  4. Follow-up Care Tasks
    1. Discuss and review the plan of care
    2. Educate patient/family/caregiver on disease management and prevention
    3. Monitor laboratory values
    4. Monitor pharmacologic use (i.e. indications, side effects)
    5. Refer patients to consultants/specialists
    6. Perform complete wound care documentation
  5. Professional Practice Tasks
    1. Stay current on government reimbursement guidelines
    2. Coordinate wound care continuum of care
    3. Understand methodology and strength of evidence related to research
    4. Follow confidentiality and security regulations