Meet The First Wound-Care Certified LPN aka “WOuNDER Woman”
By Portia Wofford
Have you ever been the first to achieve a great feat? Do you remember all the naysayers and those "encouraging" you to pursue other avenues? The self-doubt, that nagging lump at the bottom of your throat, the second-guessing you plagued yourself with? Despite it all, you kept swimming and here you are, a badass!
I thought of these things when I met Cheryl Carver or as her friends and colleagues call her- ‘WOuNder WOMAN!’ Cheryl is a nationally renowned wound care specialist and expert, published writer, educator, and LPN!
Life Doesn’t Always Go As Planned
Cheryl's nursing career began when she served in the Army, while stationed in Germany. She received a life-changing phone call that her mother had a stroke. She rushed home to be her mother’s caregiver. After a year, her mother died in Cheryl's arms due to complications of diabetes and pressure ulcers/osteomyelitis/sepsis.
Carver says her original plan was to graduate from LPN school, work as an LPN, and pursue a BSN, RN. Yet, life got busy and threw a wrench in her plans, as she found herself in yet another life-changing situation. When her boys were ten and twelve, their father had a massive stroke due to bacterial endocarditis, from a mosquito bite. She became his caregiver.
Her life was flipped upside down!
Turning Tragedies Into Lessons
Carver decided to turn her tragedies into lessons.
"I have been around wounds since I was eight years old. My mother was an uncontrolled diabetic. In 1996, my mother passed away, at 47 years old, due to pressure ulcers and chronic osteomyelitis/sepsis. I decided to turn what was a traumatic experience into a way to help others. I am passion-driven, and I live and breathe wound care, 24/7!" she says.
Carver has an impressive resume. After years of experience and wound care education, she decided that her expertise needed to be validated and that being an LPN was no excuse for it not to be.
The First Wound Care Certified LPN
Carver became the FIRST wound care certified (WCC) LPN in the United States. Certified through the Wound Care Education Institute, she was happy to finally have an opportunity to validate her expertise.
Certification opened doors for Cheryl. She began working in hospital wound centers and did this for over ten years. Additionally, her training in hyperbaric medicine led her to the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society Mid-West Chapter as a board member. Through this work, she was approached five years ago by a recruiter about a wound care educator position for a national physician wound care group. She landed the job and her career took off!
Carver states, "I was training physicians for the long-term care arena from New York to Beverly Hills, CA. Shortly after, while working the same job, I saw a post on social media for bloggers needed for WoundSource. I interviewed and was the FIRST LPN to blog for the world’s most definitive product guide!"
Career Growth After WCC
These feats weren't enough for this “wounder” woman; she had her eyes set on more prizes.
- Carver was certified through the American Board of Wound Management as a Certified Wound Clinical Associate (CWCA),
- She became a Diplomat with the American Professional Wound Care Association (DAPWCA)
- A Fellow of The American Professional Wound Care Association FACCWS).
- In 2016, Cheryl was the FIRST LPN accepted into the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care (AAWC) Speakers Bureau.
Can we put some respect on her name?!
When asked how she has built such a solid reputation as an expert, while fighting the stigma of just being an LPN, Carver had these inspiring words,
"If I think back to the beginning of my career, I heard the same things. ‘You are wasting your skills as an LPN. You need to get your RN, Cheryl.’ ‘You can’t do that as an LPN’...and the list goes on. Every time someone told me ‘NO,’ I kept going. I took every opportunity I could, paid or unpaid, and used it as a stepping stone. Now, here I am doing it. The first LPN to do many things in wound care!"
Today, Cheryl is a published writer for WoundSource-starting out as a blogger, and now writing monthly for the WoundSource Practice Accelerator Series. She also works full time for AMT WoundCare (the largest leading independent provider of wound care solutions for long-term care facilities, in the United States.) Carver states she loves the balance.
While she has no plans to pursue licensure as an RN, stating she doesn't have the time and enjoys having a perfect balance working as a clinical specialist and medical writer, she always encourages others to enhance their education in any way they can.
Advice For Nursing Students and LPNs
Her advice for LPNs wanting to pursue a career in wound care? "Get as much experience as you can, in wound care, before sitting for a wound certification exam. Experience speaks volumes. Also, take a reputable and accredited wound care certification. You want to validate your expertise with board certification."
Cheryl Carver is proof that becoming the first isn't impossible. All it takes is patience, experience, and a lot of superpowers. Thank you for your service to our country and the nursing industry, WOuNDER WOMAN! We salute you!
Contact Cheryl: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nurse4wounds
To all of the wonderful men and women who have served our country and those who are still serving, thank you for your sacrifice, your commitment, and your service!
Portia Wofford is a nurse, millennial strategist, writer, and rising social media influencer. Chosen as a brand ambassador or collaborative partner for various organizations, Wofford strives to empower nurses by offering nurses resources for career development--while providing organizations with tools to close generational gaps within their nursing staff. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter for her latest.