WOC Institute Programs at a Glance

The Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC)-Institute is owned and operated by the association of Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada (NSWOCC) (formally the Canadian Association of Enterostomal Therapists (CAET)). Our tri-specialty is unique, and we strive to improve the lives of those patients cared for by wound, ostomy and continence nurses as well as support those healthcare professionals who have chosen this dynamic and evolving field through providing comprehensive education and skills-based training to improve their practices. The WOC Institute offers various competency-based programs to assist healthcare professionals to improve their skills and understanding of wound, ostomy, and continence, with both online and in person learning opportunities

The WOC-Institute’s online and on-site competency-based educational programs are delivered by a team of highly knowledgeable and dedicated nurse leaders who are Canadian Association of Nurses (CNA) certified Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC). Graduates from the WOC-Institute programs work collectively to improve the lives of individuals experiencing wound, ostomy, and continence related issues. Group pricing is available on request. 

WOC-Institute Programs at a Glance  
Scroll right to view more programs
Program   DescriptionsWound, Ostomy and Continence Education Program (WOC-EP) Skin Wellness Associate Nurse Program (SWAN)   Industry Skin Wellness Associate Program (ISWA)Paramedic Wound Associate Program (PWA)Foundations in Skin Health Programs   Advanced Wound DebridementWOC Skills Labs
Entry RequirementsBN, BScN, or equivalent   Offered in English and FrenchDiploma RN, LPN/RPNProof of Industry EmploymentGraduated from a recognized paramedic programAny healthcare professional or industry partnerGraduates of the WOC-EP, recognized ETN/WOCN program, SWAN program, or another advanced clinical program (e.g. IIWCC, MClSc-WH etc)Any healthcare professional or industry partner
Application ProcessOnline application, applicants are accepted 2 times per year (Fall and Winter) for the English cohorts and 1 time per year (Fall) for the French cohortOnline application, applicants are accepted 2 times per year (Fall and Winter)Online application, applicants are accepted 2 times per year (Fall and Winter)Online application. Applications are accepted throughout the year and the program has a rolling start (students can start the program anytime during the year)Online application. Applications are accepted throughout the year and the program has a rolling start (students can start the program anytime during the year)Coming soon, first cohort January 2022. Online application, applicants are accepted 2 times per year (Fall and Winter)Coming soon, first cohort January 2022. Online application, applicants are accepted 2 times per year (Fall and Winter)
Program Format12 months Paced online, includes 225 hours of clinical preceptorship with an experienced NSWOC mentor. Final exam is the CAN WOCC(C) certification exam5 months Paced online, includes 75 hours of self-directed clinical preceptorship under the mentorship of an experienced NSWOC4 months paced online, includes a cumulative assignment under the mentorship of an NSWOCSelf-directed online, with mentorship from an NSWOC, students have 6 weeks to complete the program but can apply for an extension if requiredSelf-directed online, with mentorship from an NSWOC, students have 6 weeks to complete the program but can apply for an extension if required6 weeks paced online with mentorship from an NSWOC with advanced debridement skillsSelf-directed online, with mentorship from an NSWOC
Competency BasedYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Standards of PracticeYesYesNoYesYesYesYes
Ongoing Mentorship OpportunitiesYesYesYesYearly refresher courses are recommended either on line or in person. NSWOCC conference attendance encouraged. Ongoing mentorship available through membership with the NSWOCCYearly refresher courses are recommended either on line or in person. NSWOCC conference attendance encouraged. Ongoing mentorship available through membership with the NSWOCCAdvanced debridement workshops will be offered annually during the NSWOCC conferenceYearly refresher courses are recommended either on line or in person. NSWOCC conference attendance encouraged. Ongoing mentorship available through membership with the NSWOCC
Certification upon completionYesCertificate of completionCertificate of completionCertificate of completionCertificate of completionCertificate of completionCertificate of completion
DesignationNSWOC, WOCC (C) SWANISWAPWANoNoNo
Graduate knowledge levelGraduates practice as Advanced Practice Nurses, Clinical Nurses Specialist or Nurse leaders. Practice at the full scope in the areas of wound, ostomy and continence nursing. Collaborate with other healthcare professionals, direct patient care, manage complex patients, are educators, patient advocates, researchers and policy driversGraduates demonstrate advanced clinical knowledge, above the foundational level. Practice at the full scope of the practical nurse or diploma nurse in the areas of wound, ostomy and continence nursing. Are collaborative partners with NSWOCs, and other healthcare professionals, manage stable and non-complex patients, are educators and patient advocatesGraduates have the enhanced ability to provide optimal support for nurses caring for those with WOC issues. Industry partners will have the advanced ability to work collaboratively with healthcare professionals and to be ambassadors for ethical partnershipsGraduates of the PWA program will have enhanced knowledge and skill related to wound care. The program is designed to provide community care paramedics the ability to provide optimal wound care in collaboration with the interprofessional teamGraduates will obtain foundational knowledge in the areas of wound, ostomy or continence depending on the course(s) taken. Graduates will have an enhanced ability to collaborate with NSWOCs, SWANs and other healthcare professionals and will have increased knowledge to advocate for patients with WOC related issuesGraduates will have increased theoretical knowledge pertaining to wound debridement. Students are encouraged seek out mentorship opportunities and to perform debridement within their own knowledge, skill and judgement as well as provincial legislation and place of employment policiesGraduates will have increased knowledge and skill pertaining to a specific WOC skill (e.g. Hernia belt measurements, ABPIs, NPWT application etc)
Tuition$5250 (+ NSWOCC membership and text books)$3000 (+ NSWOCC membership and      text books)$3000 (+ NSWOCC membership)$600 (+ text book)$600 (+ text book)$800 (+ text book)$50 – $100 per skills lab depending on the individual lab

The WOC-Institute’s online WOC educational program (WOC-EP) is delivered by a team of highly knowledgeable and dedicated nurse leaders who are Canadian Association of Nurses (CNA) certified Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC). The WOC-EP has the endorsement and full support of the NSWOCC and has accreditation by both the CNA and the World Council of Enterostomal Therapists (WCET).

The WOC-EP is a state of the art, competency based and standards driven, paced, 12- month, online program which prepares university prepared nurses (BN/BScN’s) for the role of a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC). The program consists of three (3) courses, Ostomy, Continence and Wound. Each course consists of 160 hours of education, 75 hours of which are spent in the clinical setting, for a total of 480 hours in total of WOC education, with 225 hours spend in the clinical setting.

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). This rigorous exam ensures that our graduates possess the knowledge and critical thinking skills to work as certified NSWOCs. The online program is designed to address the education challenges Canadians face secondary to our extensive landscape and numerous remote communities.

Through the competency- based preceptorship component of the program, the WOC-EP strives to mentor and grow tomorrow’s nurse leaders. NSWOCs graduates are among the nursing elite. They demonstrate an advanced level of critical thinking, clinical skill and leadership qualities. The advantage of NSWOCs’ 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. NSWOCs bring about these benefits as deliverers of care but also as sources of specialized knowledge for interdisciplinary health care teams, best practice and protocol development, research and other avenues. The NSWOC graduate leads Wound, Ostomy and Continence teams, including Skin Wellness Associate Nurses (SWANs) and Foundations in Skin Health graduates and has the knowledge, skills and judgement to manage complex patient issues in the areas of Wounds, Ostomy and Continence.

Program Goals

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

  • New knowledge, skills and attitudes and integrate them with prior knowledge, skills and attitudes to prepare the learner to become a competent NSWOC;
  • Familiarity with the literature in the field of Specialized Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing;
  • The skills to critically analyze practice in the field, differentiate it from best practice and disseminate standards of NSWOC practice; and
  • Problem solving skills through case-based learning and participation in a strong learning community.

Program Objectives

The WOC-EP will:

  1. Graduate NWOCs who can critically appraise and incorporate research and best-practice guidelines into evidence-based clinical practice
  2. Will support graduates to complete the CNA certification exam
  3. Provide ongoing mentorship opportunities for graduates
  4. Participate in discussions with NSWOCs and appreciate the important role all allied healthcare team members can bring to an interdisciplinary Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care team
  5. Assist learners in preparing to take leadership roles related to Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care teams
  6. Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to clinical practice through clinical placements with experienced NSWOC mentors and the application of the NSWOC core competencies and standards of practice
  7. Foster professional growth and leadership
  8. Articulate and exercise the professional responsibilities associated with the NSWOC role
  9. Establish an environment to allow learners to acquire the skills necessary to meet the needs of the person with an ostomy, continent diversion, acute or chronic wound, percutaneous tube and incontinence.

Learner Objectives

At the end of this program the learner (WOC-EP student) will be able to:

  1. Critically appraise and incorporate research and best-practice guidelines into evidence-based clinical practice
  2. Develop and practice knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to support and foster best practices in Wound, Ostomy and Continence care based on the Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC) core competencies and standards of practice
  3. Participate in discussions with NSWOCs and appreciate the important role all allied healthcare team members can bring to an interdisciplinary Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care team
  4. Are prepared to take a leadership role on Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care teams
  5. Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to clinical practice through clinical placements with experienced NSWOC mentors and the application of the NSWOC core competencies and standards of practice
  6. Improve communication skills (verbal and written)
  7. Foster professional growth and leadership
  8. Articulate and exercise the professional responsibilities associated with the NSWOC role
  9. Meet the psychosocial needs of the person with a Wound, Ostomy and Continence
  10. Manage care for the person with a Wound, Ostomy and Continence related issue
  11. The learner will acquire the skills necessary to meet the biopsychosocial needs of the person with an ostomy, continent diversion, acute or chronic wound, percutaneous tube and incontinence.

The SWAN is a 5-month, competency based, paced online program which cumulates with a self-directed, mentored, clinical preceptorship which prepares practical nurses (LPN/RPN’s) for the role of a nurse with enhanced skills in the areas of wound, ostomy and continence. The online program is designed to address the education challenges Canadians face secondary to our extensive landscape and numerous remote communities. The program consists of three (3) modules, Ostomy, Continence and Wound. Each module consists of 60 hours of education, 30 hours of which are spent in the clinical setting, for a total of 210 hours total of WOC education.

The self-directed clinical preceptorships are the heart of the program’s success. Learners are afforded the opportunity to apply new skills and knowledge in real time with mentorship. Graduates are connected with mentors and a peer support network in order to foster continuing education and professional growth.

A key advantage of the SWAN approach is that students can complete the theory portion of the program in their own time and according to their own schedules as long as they adhere to assignment due dates, quiz dates and contribution to discussion forum guidelines. Recorded lessons, written content, webinars and collaborative online learning software make it easy for anyone with an internet connection to access everything they need.

An often-negative attribute of online learning is the real or perceived lack of student – teacher interaction and feedback from teachers. In order to overcome these issues, the SWAN Academic Advisors (teachers) hold regular “touch base” virtual calls with students prior to assignments and quizzes and on an as needed basis. Students are provided rubrics for each assignment and extensive feedback. During clinical placements, the SWAN Academic Advisors ensure that students meet the core competencies and mentor students in the transfer of knowledge into clinical care.

Defining a SWAN

•          A Skin Wellness Associate Nurse (SWAN) is a registered/licensed practical nurse or a registered nurse at the diploma level, with enhanced specialized knowledge and clinical skills in wound, ostomy and continence care.

•          Recognized by the Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada (NSWOCC), SWANs provide optimal wound, ostomy and continence care in consultation with NSWOCs, Clinical Nurse Specialists (Wound, Ostomy or Continence) or Physicians. The goal of the SWAN Program is to educate and prepare skilled wound, ostomy and continence nurses across the spectrum of care (e.g., acute care, long-term care and homecare).

The SWAN program is a competency and standards of practice guided, rigorous program, aimed at insuring the high quality of its graduates. Through the competency- based preceptorship component of the program, the SWAN program strives to mentor and grow   tomorrow’s practical nurse leaders. SWAN graduates demonstrate an enhanced level of critical thinking, clinical skill and leadership qualities. The advantage of SWAN’s tri-specialization is especially clear when patients have needs that require more than one area of specialty.

Employing SWANs is an effective strategy for controlling costs through high-quality, evidence- based care that leads to better outcomes for patients. The SWAN graduate are integral members of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence teams, and have the knowledge, skills and judgement to manage non- complex patient issues in the areas of Wounds, Ostomy and Continence. SWANs work in collaboration with CNA certified Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC).

Program Goals

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

• New knowledge, skills and attitudes and integrate them with prior knowledge, skills and attitudes to prepare the learner to become a competent SWAN;

• Familiarity with the literature in the field of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing;

• The skills to critically analyze practice in the field, differentiate it from best practice and disseminate standards of SWAN practice; and

• Problem solving skills through case-based learning and participation in a strong learning community.

Program Objectives

The SWAN will:

1. Graduate SWANs who can critically appraise and incorporate research and best-practice guidelines into evidence-based clinical practice

2. Provide ongoing mentorship opportunities for graduates

3. Participate in discussions with NSWOCs and appreciate the important role all allied healthcare team members can bring to an interdisciplinary Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care team

4. Assist learners in preparing to take enhanced roles related to Wound, Ostomy and Continence

-care teams

5. Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to clinical practice through mentorship with experienced NSWOC mentors and the application of the SWAN core competencies and standards of practice

6. Foster professional growth and leadership

7. Articulate and exercise the professional responsibilities associated with the SWAN role

8. Establish an environment to allow learners to acquire the skills necessary to meet the needs of the person with an ostomy, acute or chronic wound, and incontinence.

Learner Objectives

At the end of this program the learner (SWAN student) will be able to:

1. Critically appraise and incorporate research and best-practice guidelines into evidence-based clinical practice

2. Develop and practice knowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to support and foster best practices in Wound, Ostomy and Continence care based on the SWAN core competencies and standards of practice

3. Participate in discussions with NSWOCs and appreciate the important role all allied healthcare team members can bring to an interdisciplinary Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care team

4. Are prepared to take an enhanced role on Wound, Ostomy and Continence -care teams

5. Facilitate the transfer of knowledge and skills to clinical practice through clinical placements with experienced NSWOC mentors and the application of the SWAN core competencies and standards of practice

6. Improve communication skills (verbal and written)

7. Foster professional growth and leadership

8. Articulate and exercise the professional responsibilities associated with the SWAN role

9. Meet the psychosocial needs of the person with a Wound, Ostomy and Continence

10. Manage care for the person with a Wound, Ostomy and Continence related issue

11. The learner will acquire the skills necessary to meet the biopsychosocial needs of the person with an ostomy, acute or chronic wound and incontinence.

Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence Canada’s (NSWOCC) Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) Institute, developed the Industry Skin Wellness Associate (ISWA) Program in response to the growing desire for industry partners to enhance their knowledge build confidence and to be better able to communicate with health care professionals working in the areas of wound, ostomy and continence. The ISWA program is designed specifically for industry partners who want to strengthen their ability to collaborate with healthcare professionals and to achieve the new gold standard for industry education in wound, ostomy and continence areas.

The ISWA program is a paced online, 4-month education program. Program content includes foundational knowledge pertaining to wound, ostomy and continence. Assignments are aimed at enhancing skills pertaining to ethical communication, building collaborative relationships, goal setting, understanding the Canadian Wound, Ostomy and Continence market, product placement and leadership training.

Program Goals:

The goal of the ISWA Program is to educate and prepare industry partners to work collaboratively and be a more effective resource for healthcare professionals.   

Objectives:

Graduates will have an enhanced ability to position their product portfolios from a clinical practice lens and to provide optimal support for nurses caring for those with wound, ostomy and continence issues.

The program is designed to provide industry partners the advanced ability to work collaboratively with healthcare professionals and to be ambassadors for ethical partnerships with industry. Upon completion graduates will be eligible to use the ISWA designation.

Industry Skin Wellness Associate (ISWA) Program Overview
Ostomy ManagementContinence ManagementWound Management
Description 5 weeks duration.DescriptionDescription
EvaluationEvaluationEvaluation
Cumulative Assignment

New in 2021, the Skin Health – Practice Enrichment Series includes competency based, beginner programs in wound, ostomy and continence, intermediate skills labs and advanced programs. The courses are state of the art, self-paced online programs which are facilitated by a team of CNA certified NSWOCs. Onsite programs are available upon request. Contact the NSWOC through our contact page should you be interested in accessing our onsite education delivered by specialized NSWOCs.

Beginner programs are 6 weeks, self-paced online. Learners will be directed through a series of modules designed to provide foundational knowledge in the areas of wound, ostomy or continence. The courses are unique in that students will have access to virtual mentorship and knowledge consolidation opportunities with our team of CNA certified NSWOCs.

Introduction to Wound Management (Coming Oct 2021)

Modules Include:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology of the Integumentary System
  2. Principles of Integumentary System Healing  
  3. General principles of Integumentary / Wound Assessment and Management
  4. Wound prevention, assessment and management including
  5. Specific wound aetiologies (prevention, assessment and management):
    1. Acute and traumatic wounds (example: skin tears, lacerations, minor burns), with a focus on post fall wound care
    1. Moisture associated skin damage (example: incontinence associated dermatitis, emersion foot)
    1. Pressure injuries
    1. Lower limb ulcers
    1. Diabetic foot ulcers
    1. Surgical wounds
    1. Skin changes at life’s end
    1. Wounds not healing in a predicted trajectory
  6. Collaborative approaches when working with interprofessional teams

Introduction to Ostomy Management (Coming Winter 2022)

Modules Include:

1.            Anatomy and Physiology of the Gastrointestinal and Urinary Systems

2.            Conditions Leading to Surgical Intervention Resulting in an Ostomy & Surgical Procedures

3.            Assessment and Management of the Stoma

4.            Assessment and Management of the Peristomal Skin

5.            Effective Management of Effluent and Product Selection

6.            Medication and Nutrition for a Patient with a Stoma

7.            Psychosocial Care of the Patient with an Ostomy

8.            An Introduction to Gastrostomies & Jejunostomies

Introduction to Continence Management (Coming Fall 2022)

  1. Continence as a Health Issue
  2. Anatomy and Physiology of the urinary and lower gastrointestinal systems
  3. Factors contributing to incontinence
  4. Assessment of urinary incontinence
  5. Assessment of fecal incontinence
  6. Management of urinary incontinence
  7. Management of fecal incontinence
  8. Collaborative approach to incontinence management
  9. Identification and management of incontinence associated dermatitis
  10. Quality of life issues related to incontinence

Intermediate programs include the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Virtual Skills Labs (Coming Winter 2022).

The competency-based, skills labs will be available online in self-paced format with access to virtual mentorship and knowledge consolidation opportunities with our team of CNA certified NSWOCs. Participants must have completed the corresponding beginner program listed above. A sampling of the skills labs are listed below with more to follow in the coming months. A selection of the skills labs will be offered in person during the NSWOCC annual conference. Enrollment will be limited.

  • Dressing selection/application and wound bed preparation
  • Negative Pressure Wound Therapy (NPWT) application and trouble shooting
  • Lower leg and foot assessment including Ankle Brachial Pressure Index, Toe Pressures, Monofilament testing and Infrared Thermometer testing
  • Compression selection and application
  • Fistula management
  • Therapeutic mattress selection
  • Stoma site marking
  • Ostomy appliance selection and application
  • Hernia Belt measurement and selection
  • Catheter selection
  • Containment product selection

Advanced programs include the Advanced Wound Debridement Program (coming Jan 2022).

The competency-based, advanced debridement course is designed by nurses for nurses and follows the Canadian best practise recommendations for nurses; however, the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Institute recognizes the course may be of interest to other disciplines. As such, non-nurses meeting the prerequisite education requirements will be accepted into the program. Healthcare professionals without a nursing background are responsible for recognizing their own scope of practice and jurisdictional policies related to their profession. In-depth knowledge of wound management is essential prior to enrollment in a competency-based debridement educational program. Prerequisite education is identified by the successful completion of a rigorous curriculum-based wound management program including stringent outcome measures such as examination. 

The primary objective of this program is to provide learners with advanced theoretical knowledge pertaining to all aspects of debridement. Learners are encouraged to seek out mentorship opportunities within their work environment and to work within their scope of practice. At the end of this program learners will have advanced debridement knowledge beyond the WOC-EP/ SWAN programs. Learners must have completed the WOC-EP, SWAN or equivalent program prior to taking this program. The program will be self-paced online with access to virtual mentorship and knowledge consolidation opportunities with our team of CNA certified NSWOCs. An annual workshop will be held during the NSWOCC National conference. Enrollment will be limited. Contact chair@wocinstitute.ca for more information.

New in 2021, the Skin Health – Paramedic Practice Enrichment Series includes a competency based, beginner program in wound management. The course is a state of the art, competency-based, self-paced online program facilitated by a team of CNA certified NSWOCs. Onsite programs are available upon request. Contact the NSWOC through our contact page should you be interested in accessing our onsite education delivered by specialized NSWOCs.

Introduction to Wound Management (Coming Oct 2021)

Modules Include:

  1. Anatomy and Physiology of the Integumentary System
  2. Principles of Integumentary System Healing  
  3. General principles of Integumentary / Wound Assessment and Management
  4. Wound prevention, assessment and management including
  5. Specific wound aetiologies (prevention, assessment and management):
    1. Acute and traumatic wounds (example: skin tears, lacerations, minor burns), with a focus on post fall wound care
    1. Moisture associated skin damage (example: incontinence associated dermatitis, emersion foot)
    1. Pressure injuries
    1. Lower limb ulcers
    1. Diabetic foot ulcers
    1. Surgical wounds
    1. Skin changes at life’s end
    1. Wounds not healing in a predicted trajectory
    1. Insect related skin damage
  6. Collaborative approaches when working with interprofessional teams
Twitter Feed
FINAL REMINDER! Join us this evening for our next continuing education webinar: "More than Safety First: The use of Hypochlorous Acid for Safe & Effective Pediatric Care of non-intact skin" Registration is FREE! To register, click the link below: https://t.co/5rscILQ7Ag https://t.co/jwiuPjSa14
h J R
@NSWOC
We are thrilled to invite you to our next webinar on Thurs,, Sept. 16 from 7-8pm EDT: "More than Safety First: The use of Hypochlorous Acid for Safe & Effective Pediatric Care of non-intact skin" Registration is FREE! To register, click the link below: https://t.co/5rscILQ7Ag https://t.co/PjZF147GRQ
h J R
@NSWOC
The Fall 2021 issue of the NSWOC Advance is now available in both hard copy and electronic flip book for NSWOCC Members! To find the electronic flip book in our members-only section, please log-in at https://t.co/ilXyifqwXf and click the cover photo for the NSWOC Advance. https://t.co/7h31AvvB2K
h J R
@NSWOC
We're going to be going LIVE with our next continuing education webinar this evening in 5 minutes! Tuned in by clicking the link below, or watching on NSWOCC's Facebook page through Facebook Live. https://t.co/58RWK1cyVg
h J R
@NSWOC
Don't miss out! Tonight at 7pm EDT, join our next Continuing Education Webinar featuring two expert presentations on skin health during COVID-19. Register for FREE at https://t.co/58RWK1cyVg https://t.co/ssyV2oqGpC
h J R
@NSWOC
Join us on Social Media