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The Wound Care and Ostomy Nurses Association

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  • Pages: 4
  • Word count: 851
  • Category: Nursing

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Wound Care and Ostomy Nurses website describes the WOCN as “a professional, international nursing society of more than 4000 nurse professionals who are experts in the care of patients with wound, ostomy and continence problems.” It was founded by nurses in 1968 as an effort to manage conditions such as stomas, draining wounds, fistulas, vascular ulcers, pressure ulcers, neuropathic wounds, urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence and functional disorders of the bowel and bladder.

Its biggest function includes setting guidelines for patient care. In addition to this, WOCN representatives have continuously participated in the Pressure Ulcer Panel and the Urinary Incontinence in Adults Panel of the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR). New clinical practice guidelines for the care of adults with pressure ulcers and with urinary incontinence have resulted from these panels. Suppliers, payers and patients are educated by WOCN participants on appropriate dressing use. The participants also aid in the monitoring of appropriate use and take part in FDA panels. The society is also involved with the Health Care Financing Administration and has made efforts to revise the Medicare Carriers Manual regarding surgical wound dressings, ostomy and urological products as well as support surfaces.

There is increasing demand for educated WOC nurses as they are able to provide time efficient, cost effective treatment. Hospitalization time can be shortened and the transition to home care can be made smoother with the help of these nurses. Case management which includes focusing on the patient and the impact of illness from admission until discharge has become very popular with many WOCN nurses.

The association’s mission is “to promote educational, clinical, and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies, and incontinence through Research, Communications, Practice, Education, and Membership objectives” (WOCN Society Vision and Values).

Their research vision concludes that “the WOCN Society is the vehicle through which collaborative, state-of-the-art clinical (WOC) research is conducted to improve patient outcomes and drive policy decisions.”(WOCN Society Vision and Values)

Their communication vision is to “improve/enhance communication and develop communication vehicles that are customer friendly and provide value. Improve/enhance communication with WOCN Society regional and affiliate leadership and members”

Their Practice vision of WOCN society is to set the standard and become accepted as the “gold standard” for the management of patients with WOC conditions. Their educational vision is to be “recognized as the premier provider of education for best practice and optimal patient outcomes”.

Active Membership to WOCN is granted to wound, ostomy, or continence nurses who are graduates of educational programs accredited by the Society or registered nurses (RN). Individuals who support the purposes, mission and goals of WOCN can also be granted Associate Membership.

Individuals eligible for associate membership and permanently retired from employment can also become retired associate members. Honorary Membership is granted to individuals who meet the requirement established by the Board of Directors. There are also memberships for Student Nurses and Corporations. When applying for membership the applicant is required to fill an application form and submit it along with the designated fee to the administrative office of the Society. The board of directors rejects or accepts application based on the criteria set forth.

Some of the benefits of WOCN membership include obtaining a subscription to Journal of WOCN, WOCN News, JWOCN On-Line, Position Statements, Clinical Fact Sheets, Professional Practice Fact Sheets, Membership Directory and representation at numerous national nursing organizations and liaisons. WOCN members are also given opportunities to run for office at the local affiliate or on national committees. Voting rights are also given to members to elect officers locally or nationally.

Local members also receive notification in case of upcoming events, important mailings as well as invitations to local events, dinners, annual holiday parties. It also provides individuals with a comprehensive learning and networking opportunity. Members also obtain access to vendors, suppliers as well as the latest products. They get discounted registration fees for regional meetings and educational seminars throughout the year. Tuition scholarships are also given to members to attend the Nurse in Washington Internship (NIWI) program.

 The member’s only section of the WOCN website provides a unique forum for members to discuss topics related to WOC nursing. In addition to this, online bookstores, nurse referral listing service and Cochrane Library access also comes with the membership. Members can also post jobs vacancies and apply for jobs by visiting the website.

WOCN has proven to be an excellent association that has gained the trust of the people with its Leadership and Integrity. It has provided betterment in the lives of many all around the world. In my opinion there are no faults within the association or any disadvantages associated with WOCN membership.


  • Wound Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society. (2005). Retrieved Feb 4 2007 <http://www.wocn.org/>

  • Hodges, Lisa. (n.d) How Do I Become A Member? Retrieved Feb 4 2007. http://www.stlwocn.org/membership_info.html

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