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Become a WOC Nurse
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The nurse embarking on the journey to become a WOC nurse is opening the door to a specialty that makes a tremendous difference in the lives you touch. Whether you plan to specialize in wounds, ostomies or incontinence all three practice areas offer opportunity for professional growth in a variety of health care settings. WOC nurses provide acute and rehabilitative needs for people with selected disorders of the gastrointestinal, genitourinary and/or integumentary system. WOC nurses provide direct care to people with abdominal stomas, wounds, fistulas, drains, pressure ulcers, and/or continence disorders. As an educator, consultant, researcher and/or administrator the WOC nurse plays a pivotal role in the guidance of optimal patient care.

WOC nurses are Registered Nurses who hold a baccalaureate degree or higher and complete a formal, accredited WOC full scope or specialty education program.

Bringing it all together is no easy task. The WOC nurse's knowledge, leadership and commitment to caring make it happen. And for support, continuing education and professional resources, WOC nurses turn to the WOCN Society.

To see a Day in the Life of a WOC Nurse...

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Criteria for Admission

The following minimum prerequisites are common for every program. Individual programs may have additional criteria.

Student Admission

The Program adheres to established standards for student admission as published in the Student Handbook. Students are admitted without discrimination.

Criteria for admission are:

  1. RN with a Baccalaureate Degree or higher.
  2. One year of RN clinical nursing experience following RN licensure.
  3. Current clinical nursing experience within 5 years prior to application to a WOC Nursing Education Program.
    Documentation of currency of clinical nursing experience within last 5 years: current, active practice, completion of a nurse refresher course, or a clinical performance examination.

Program Structure

Applicants can choose from the current WOCN-Accredited WOCNEPs in the U.S. Accreditation by the WOCN Society guarantees the student that the program meets established criteria regarding admission requirements, course content, clinical experience, qualified faculty and student/faculty ratio.

To meet the wide variety of needs of prospective students, the structure of each of the WOCNEPs is diverse. Each program has specific information about their structure, program dates tuition and fees, length of program and specific admission requirements. Types of program offerings include full scope or specialty courses. Individual programs may offer nursing education credits or academic, master's level credits for the course.

Individual programs have varied structures/formats for the learner to choose an option that best meets their learning style or needs. Program types include: traditional on-site; split-option; distance learning; web enhanced and online learning courses. All programs contain both a didactic and clinical component.


Upon successful completion of a WOCN-Accredited WOCNEP the nurse is awarded a certificate designating WOC nurse or specialty status. This qualifies the nurse to take national board examinations to become certified in wound, ostomy and/or continence nursing.

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WOCNCB Board Certification

Graduates of an accredited WOC nursing full scope or specialty program are eligible to become Board Certified by taking the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB) Examination(s). Credentialed WOC nurses have successfully met rigorous criteria and passed a national board examination to be certified in the area(s) of wound, ostomy, and/or continence nursing. A brochure and application for Board Certification can be viewed at or requested from the WOCNCB National Office at (888) 496-2622.

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Copyright 2011-2016 Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™. All rights reserved.
The WOCN® Society is professionally managed by Association Headquarters, a charter accredited association management company.
The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.

The WOCN Society was awarded Accreditation with Distinction, the highest recognition awarded by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Accreditation Program.

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 15115.