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Q: How can I become a TVN?

Answer provided by Heidi Sandoz (formerly Guy)

There are many ways of getting into Tissue Viability. My story started not long after I qualified in 1987 when I read an article in the Nursing Times called “Are you in the dark?” which talked about pressure ulcers. I realised we weren’t following best practice in my area so I started to change practice to improve this. With every job move over the next few years I found myself repeating this. I attended study days, conferences and learning opportunities (often on my day off and at my own expense) and joined the Wound Care Society (now known as Wound Care Alliance) and the Tissue Viability Society.

Eventually I found myself working in an acute hospital in Hertfordshire and attended the University of Hertfordshire to gain a degree in Tissue Viability. At this time I also wrote a business case to develop a Tissue Viability service, wrote a job description, applied for the post and voila. That was back in 2002.

Others enter via a different route, for example my lead worked in elderly care for many years, was a senior ward manager, did a degree in Tissue Viability and then covered maternity leave in another TV service before joining me at that time at East and North Herts.

Our Tissue Viability Support nurse was a link nurse who demonstrated commitment to Tissue Viability, had a degree in TV, was implementing change at ward level, attending every possible Tissue Viability study day in the area, coming into work with us and persuading her manager to spend time helping with projects. So when a job became available in the right place, at the right time, she was in a very good position to get the job.

Another colleague got into Tissue Viability re the research route, had a job as a research nurse and then developed the role from there; another started as a nurse working in a community leg ulcer clinic where she developed skills and expertise.

Key points would be to ensure that TV is a passion for you, something you love doing. Subscribe to or access some related journals. Attend national related conferences. Gain some post registration qualifications related to TV at university. Become a link nurse first. Spend time with your local TVN – can you shadow them? Ensure you are the one that knows more about this than the others around you or learn from those around you that know more than you! Many of the commercial wound care companies run study days around the country that are often free to attend and these can be a great place to network and expand your knowledge.

Membership of the TVS would be a good start and there are reduced rates for student nurses – for £10 this will also provide you with the Journal of Tissue Viability four times a year and allow you to access a substantial back catalogue on-line. The TVS conference rate for students is usually substantially reduced and there are also TVS scholarships available for students to attend the annual conference. Many of the wound care companies offer sponsorship to conferences – TVNs don’t hold the monopoly of funded places!

Q: Where can I study Tissue Viability?

The University of Hertfordshire run both in classroom & distance learning Tissue Viability modules – click here for further information.

There is a course at Huddersfield – click here for further information.

There is a course at Cardiff which only requires attendance once a year – click here for further information.

There is a post graduate course at the University of Bradford – click here for further information. 

EWMA produces a list of courses both in the UK and worldwide, which are endorsed by them  – click here for further information.

Q: Is the TVS able to send out printed information?

Because Tissue Viability is a very broad specialist subject, it is not be possible to send out all relevant material as there is just too much of it out there. However, to help NVQ3 students in their TV assignment, it would benefit them to consider in a more specific way what it is about TV they would like to concentrate on, for example: pressure ulcers – management and prevention; leg ulcers; wound assessment; or wound dressings. You can then use these terms to search on PubMed and CINAHL (which your course provider may have told you about) or Google Scholar you will be pointed to many articles on these subjects.

Another good source of information is your local healthcare library (usually based in a health centre or acute hospital) whose librarian should be very helpful in guiding you on where to find useful information.

There is also the RCN Library for RCN members.

In addition, try visiting the following websites for further resources: (TVS members get a reduced membership fee of only 10 Euros for EWMA!)

NICE – for pressure ulcer guidelines

SIGN – for leg ulcer guidelines

Q How do I research an essay on wound care?

Students needing help to get started on writing an essay will find it useful to use the words below to consider narrowing their topic and then using the search terms to find relevant papers. Use websites such as PubMed, CINAHL and other search sites suggested by your University to find research papers.

Pressure Ulcers:

Topics: Risk assessment, prevention, treatment, management, grading/classification, risk factors, equipment, biomechanical science, aetiology and mechanism of damage, prevalence, incidence, nutrition

Search words: pressure/decubitus ulcer/sore, risk, grad*, equipment, mattress*, prevalence, incidence, risk tools, assess*, bundle, prevent*, risk factor, nutrition, albumin, treatment

Websites: EPUAP; NPUAP; Wounds UK; NICE Guideline 179

Leg Ulcers:

Topics: Aetiology, venous, arterial, management, assessment, compression,

Search words: leg/lower limb ulcer*, venous, compression, bandag*, hosiery, dressings, Doppler, ABPI

Websites: SIGN, Leg ulcer forum, EWMA, Cochrane


Topics: Assessment, dressings, management, debridement, negative pressure wound therapy, delays in healing

Search terms: wound, ulcer, sore, sinus, fistula, assess*, treatment, dressing*, debrid*, larvae, negative pressure wound therapy,

Websites: EWMA, Wounds UK, Cochrane

Q: As a student, can I become a member of the TVS?

Yes, we welcome students (undergraduates) as members of our Society, who will be the future of tissue viability, and have a special membership rate of only £10.  Click here to find out more.

Q: How can I access back issues of the Journal of Tissue Viability?

Members of the TVS you can access back issues of the JTV on-line. You can click through from the TVS’s website or go straight to the JTV’s own website, but you will need your customer reference number (printed on the address label of your JTV) to access the journal on-line. If you do not have your customer reference number to hand the membership co-ordinator can obtain it for you from the Publisher (please use Contact Us to request this). All issues of the JTV from 2004 until the present are currently available on-line.

Q: How can I cancel my TVS membership?

You can cancel your membership at any time by informing the membership co-ordinator via the Contact Us page. If you have a standing order with your bank for membership you will have to contact your bank directly to cancel your standing order. If you have a recurring payment set-up through PayPal you will need to login to your PayPal account to cancel it.