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Skin Wellness Associate Nurse (SWAN™) Program

For practical nurses and diploma RNs who aspire to become respected nurse leaders and integral members of their organization’s wound, ostomy, and continence leadership team, the CNA-accredited Skin Wellness Associate Nurse (SWAN™) Program is the only program in Canada that offers: competency and evidence-informed advanced knowledge in wound, ostomy and continence management; confidence to transfer that knowledge into practice; recognition and respect for your competencies through the nationally recognized SWAN™ designation; and continuous learning and lifelong support through mentorship and collaboration in a SWAN™-Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC) team.

SWAN™s are uniquely recognized for their advanced knowledge and their contributions as wound, ostomy and continence nurse champions in their workplaces and communities across Canada.

WOC Institute Program Logos_SWAN.png

Program Goal

The goal of the (SWAN™) Program is to educate and prepare more skilled wound, ostomy and continence nurses across the spectrum of care (e.g. acute care, long-term care and homecare). Graduates will have an enhanced ability to provide optimal care for individuals with wound, ostomy and continence issues as members of a collaborative NSWOC team. The program is designed to provide non-specialty nurses the ability to provide optimal wound, ostomy and continence care under the direction of the NSWOC, Clinical Nurse Specialist (Wound, Ostomy or Continence) or Physician and to be integral members of the WOC team.

Why was the program developed?

The Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada (NSWOCC) WOC Institute developed the SWAN™ Program in response to the growing need in Canada for healthcare professionals with advanced wound, ostomy and continence knowledge. The NSWOCC and WOC Institute developed the paced online SWAN™ program as a means to support and empower NSWOCs and improve clinical outcomes by enhancing wound, ostomy and continence care teams. 

Become a wound, ostomy and continence champion and nurse leader. Advance your knowledge by becoming a SWAN™.

Program Outcomes

Program Outline

  • 5-month, competency and standards of practice-based:

    • 3 sections (wound, ostomy & continence)

      • 26 paced, online modules

    • Self-directed clinical preceptorship

    • Ongoing mentorship with CNA certified NSWOCs

    • Individualized support from an Academic Advisor

    • Bi-weekly interactive learning sessions

Course Length
  • Two cohorts per year starting in February and August respectively.

  • Courses are five (5) months long.

Topics Covered
  • Integumentary System

  • Wounds

  • Ostomies

  • Continence Care

Important Dates and Deadlines

Date de début
Date de fin
Date limite d'inscription
L'obtention du diplôme
Fall Cohort
Third Monday in August
Late January
At the NSWOCC National Conference in May
Winter Cohort
Third Monday in January
Late June
At the NSWOCC National Conference in May
Many organizations have forced nurses into a position where they are task-oriented. The SWAN’s vision is that we want students to be thinking about the “why” and “how”. To get people to switch their thinking and actively think about what your rationale is for making a nursing-related decision.

Vida Johnston, BScN, RN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

SWAN Lead Academic Advisor

Translate Theory into Practice

After Sharon Hunter graduated from the CNA-accredited Skin Wellness Associate Nurse (SWAN™) program, she felt much more confident in promoting herself as an expert and resource within the field of wound care. 

SWAN™ program graduates gain evidence-informed, advanced knowledge in the tri-specialty areas of wound, ostomy, and continence that they can confidently translate into practice. Not only can this confidence help registered nurses and diploma RNs like Shanon advocate for their own skills as professionals, but advocate for patients’ needs too. 

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