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NSWOC® Program (WOC-EP)

The WOC Institute’s flagship program is our Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC) Program (originally called the Wound Ostomy and Continence Education Program or WOC-EP). The NSWOC Program is a state of the art, paced, 12-month, online program which prepares BN/BScN’s for the role of a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC®). RN applicants who hold a bachelor’s degree in another area are also eligible to apply for the program. The final exam for the program is the Canadian Nurses Associate (CNA) certification exam, which, upon achievement, enables the NSWOC to use the credential WOCC(C).

NSWOCs are sources of specialized knowledge for interdisciplinary health care teams, best practice and protocol development, research, and more. The NSWOC graduate leads Wound, Ostomy and Continence teams, including SWAN and Skin Health graduates, and has the knowledge, skills, and judgement to manage complex patient issues in the areas of Wounds, Ostomy and Continence.

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Canada’s Need for Specialized Nurses

There is a great need in Canada for a master’s level graduate program in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing that will prepare clinical nurse specialists in advanced Wound, Ostomy and Continence practice in this country. The NSWOC Program has been developed to provide advanced education in the specialized area of Wound, Ostomy and Continence healing.

The overall objective of the NSWOC Program is to provide an educational experience that will concurrently focus on the development of specialized clinical skills, critical thinking and research appraisal.

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Apply today!

Click the button below to learn about the application process, including the application checklist, prerequisites, and costs.

The NSWOC Program builds tri-specialty nurse leaders

The NSWOC Program is a competency and standards of practice guided, rigorous program, aimed at ensuring the high quality of its graduates. Through the CANMeds styled, competency-based preceptorship component of the program, the NSWOC Program strives to mentor and grow tomorrow’s nurse leaders.


NSWOC graduates are among the nursing elite.

They demonstrate an advanced level of critical thinking, clinical skill, and leadership qualities. The advantage of an NSWOC’s tri-specialization is especially clear when patients have needs that require more than one area of specialty.

Employing NSWOCs is an effective strategy for controlling costs through high-quality, evidence-based care that leads to better outcomes for patients.

Program Goals

The goals of the program are to assist the learner to build:

Program Outline

The NSWOC Program is separated into three courses: Ostomy, Continence, and Wound Management. 

By completing the program, the learner will attain the knowledge required to:​

  • Articulate and exercise the professional responsibilities associated with the NSWOC® role;

  • Meet the psychosocial needs of the person with an ostomy, fistula, continent diversion, acute or chronic wound, percutaneous tube or incontinence;

  • Manage care for the person with an ostomy or continent diversion in the gastrointestinal and/or genitourinary systems;

  • Manage care for the person with a fistula, draining wound, or percutaneous tube;

  • Manage care for the person with an acute or chronic wound; and

  • Manage selected aspects of care for the person with urinary or fecal incontinence.

Is the NSWOC Program right for you?

Learn in small classes with flexible enrolment, building strong relationships with colleagues and specialists from across Canada online and in clinical settings.


Care to be the best by graduating from the most rigorous academic and clinical wound, ostomy and continence education program available (225 hours of supervised clinical placement). Lead wound, ostomy and continence management in any Canadian Healthcare setting including acute care, rehabilitation, community care and long-term care.

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Eligible Applicants

Acceptance into the program is competitive.


Eligible applicants must be Baccalaureate prepared Registered Nurses with at least 2 years of full-time employment in the last 3 years as a Registered Nurse, in a clinically relevant area of practice.


Applications are received twice per year in the English program and once per year in the French program. 


CNA Certification

The NSWOC Program is the only Canadian program which leads to Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) certification in Wound, Ostomy & Continence - WOCC(C).

The certification credential WOCC(C) or Wound, Ostomy and Continence Certified (Canada), is an important indicator to patients, employers, the public and professional licensing bodies that the certified nurse is qualified, competent, and current in a nursing specialty/area of nursing practice. Certified nurses have met rigorous requirements to achieve this expert credential.


The CNA WOCC(C) certification exam is the final exam for the NSWOC Program. The exam is to be written within one year of completing the program and students can sign up to write the exam immediately upon completing the wound management course.


A CNA certification prep course has been developed and is available to students, which helps students become well prepared to sit the exam. The current exam pass rate is 95%.

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NSWOCs interested in writing the WOCN certification exam in the United States

While the final exam for the WOC-EP remains the CNA certification exam, nurses who have graduated from the WOC Institute’s WOC-EP (NSWOC Program) are eligible to sit the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Certification exam in the United States. This does not replace the requirement to write the CNA certification exam.


Visit to learn more about certification in the United States.

When applying to write the exam Canadian graduates should use their NSWOC graduation documentation along with their Registered Nurse licence and proof of bachelor’s degree. 

Within the exam application, nurses should choose the education program listing and the code #200 for “International WCET program/Traditional”.  This is considered it an equivalent to the WOC education programs.

Below is a link to our exam handbook with eligibility information, as well as a link to the list of test site locations.

There is also a remote option for testing at home through a live proctor, as a scheduling option.

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