Welcome to the WOCN Society Member Spotlight blog, featuring the inspiring stories behind our members. This month, we’re spotlighting Richard Schneider, MBA, MSN, AGACNP-BC, CWON based in Redwood Valley, California. With a passion for healing and an unwavering dedication to his patients, Richard’s story serves as a beacon of inspiration within the WOC care community.
A Calling Discovered: The Path to WOC Nursing
Richard’s journey into wound, ostomy, and continence care was ignited by a meaningful encounter with a Certified Wound Ostomy nurse. After two years as a Medsurge nurse, he spent time as a Clinical Consultant for KCI, where he forged a friendship with Gretchen Klein, a CWON for Kaiser in San Francisco. Gretchen’s knowledge and passion were contagious, and she soon became a mentor who opened Richard’s eyes to the world of WOC nursing.
“Even though retired, I still look to her for advice,” Richard fondly recalls. This connection, coupled with Gretchen’s dedication to patient care and clinician education, sparked his interest in pursuing a WOCNEP and solidified his commitment to the field.
A Passion for Patient-Centered Healthcare
With 20 years as a Registered Nurse and 14 years in the WOC nursing field, Richard’s passion for healthcare is undeniable. WOC nursing rekindled his enthusiasm and dedication, drawing him away from considering an MBA and back into the world of patient care. Richard thrives on providing support during patients’ most vulnerable moments, helping them regain their physical self-esteem and guiding them through the healing process.
“The pathophysiology of healing fascinates me,” Richard shares, “the microbiology and bench science of wound dressing mechanism of action gives the science nerd in me something to think about.” His dedication to knowledge and learning is evident as he precepts WOC students, sharing his expertise and witnessing the transformative moments when the light of understanding dawns in their eyes.
A Society that Nurtures Growth: The WOCN® Connection
Richard’s affiliation with the WOCN Society began during his WOCNEP program at MD Anderson, and over 13 years, he has continued to benefit from the Society’s resources. Access to forums, online education offerings, affiliate networking, JWOCN, and the WOCN Society’s Career Center have enriched his career and facilitated his growth.
Proud Moments and Patient Impact
Throughout his career, Richard has experienced numerous proud moments as a WOC nurse. From precepting WOC students to presenting at national conferences and teaching CME classes to MDs, his dedication and expertise have shone brightly. One particularly heartwarming memory stands out—the story of his first patient with an ileostomy.
“She didn’t even want to look at the pouch, let alone participate in pouch management,” Richard recalls. Through patience and encouragement, he guided her toward acceptance and participation. On their last visit, she expressed her gratitude, saying, “You made this okay for me. Thank you.”
Balancing Career and Life
As Richard looks to the next five years, his focus remains steadfast on his family, faith, and personal time. While deeply dedicated to his work, he acknowledges the importance of setting boundaries and preserving his own well-being to deliver the best care to his patients.
Outside of nursing, Richard finds solace in spending quality time with his wife and three boys. Hiking and camping adventures, amateur gardening, and cultivating giant pumpkins with his sons create cherished memories that balance his demanding career.
A Journey Filled with Gratitude
Richard’s career has taken him from home health in suburban and rural Northern California to an academic medical center at the University of Virginia and his current blended role serving multiple critical access hospitals, rural health clinics, and skilled nursing facilities. His journey from BSN to NP is a testament to his commitment to growth and excellence.
In his own words, Richard acknowledges, “I am grateful for the breadth of opportunities.” His unwavering dedication to patient care, enthusiasm for learning, and the joy he finds in serving his community make him an exceptional member of the WOCN Society. On behalf of the WOCN Society, we celebrate Richard Schneider and his contributions to the world of wound, ostomy, and continence care.