IN THIS ISSUE:     45 Years!  |   Spotlight  |   Helping Hands  |   Save Date

Presidents Message

Greetings and happy spring! I don’t know about you, but seeing the days get longer, having more sunshine, and warmer weather absolutely energizes me. I am a firm believer in spring fever and must keep the need to get work done and my desire to be outside in balance! It feels like I am coming out of my own hibernation. While winter may have passed, I can assure you that the WOCNCB® has not been in hibernation during those cold months. There has been a lot of activity.

We are celebrating our 45th anniversary as the Gold Standard for Certification® and will continue to celebrate those who have held their certifications since the early days of the WOCNCB®. In this E-news, we would like to highlight Janice Colwell, CWOCN®. Janice also participated in a recent podcast with Mary Gloeckner, CWON®, Bonnie Rolstad, CWOCN®, and Ruth Bryant, MS, RN, CWOCN®, discussing her career experience as a CWOCN®. If you have not yet listened to this podcast, I want to encourage you to do so and hear about their experiences as each nurse has been a trailblazer in our specialty. We are also celebrating in this E-news issue those of you who have been continuously certified for 30+ and 40+ years. You can also stop by our booth at WOCNext in June to view those nurses’ names.

The WOCNCB photo contest has concluded, and we thank you for sending us your selfies and stories! We will continue to share your selfies and stories and will announce daily winners of the contest during WOC Nurse Week April 16-22. Be sure to also visit WOCN® Society for a toolkit to celebrate.

As WOCNCB certified nurses, we know the importance of our specialized knowledge and the impact it has on our patient outcomes. We also are aware that in many cases, there aren’t enough of us. Many patients still do not have access to an ostomy nurse. If you are not yet certified or have a colleague who is interested in becoming a certified ostomy nurse (COCN®), the UOAA is offering an Education Award Scholarship for nurses to pursue ostomy certification. The WOCN Foundation Scholarship Program also offers an opportunity to earn a scholarship for wound, ostomy, or continence nursing.

For those of you who are interested in becoming a certified foot care nurse (CFCN®), we now have a preceptor directory that can be found on our website. If you are already a CFCN® and would like to become a preceptor, please visit our website and add yourself to the preceptor directory. Remember, you can earn PGP points for your time as a preceptor. PGP office hours will be held in April and we are excited to have Linda Mckenna, MSN, RN, CWOCN® present a session on PGP during the WOCNext Conference. Speaking of conferences, we will be exhibiting at multiple conferences including WOCNext this year. Be sure to stop by our booth and say hi!

Warm regards,

Jessica Simmons, DNP, APRN, FNP-C, CWON, DNC
WOCNCB® President

 WOCNCB® Achieving Excellence for 45 Years!

WOCNCB® is celebrating the 45 year milestone throughout the year by highlighting some of our longest continuously certified nurses!


45 Years Certified Janice Colwell APRN, CWOCN, FAAN

We all have a story to tell. Sharing my professional story is the purpose of this article; the WOCNCB has asked me to share my story with you, the reader, as I celebrate 45 years as a certified wound ostomy and continence nurse—where did the time go?  It is important to share our stories, and I hope that by reading my story you can see part of your story as well or perhaps as a new WOCNCB certified nurse you can see what your story could look like and can appreciate the contribution we can make as a WOCNCB certified nurse.   

I graduated from the Jewish Hospital Enterostomal Therapy Educational Program in 1978, when our specialty was single focused, I received my education in ostomy and was an Enterostomal Therapy (ET) nurse.  At the time of completion of my onsite 8-week program—remember no wound no ostomy still an 8-week program! I started at a community hospital and soon afterward was offered a job at the University of Chicago Medicine (UCM); the position I was offered was once held by an ET nurse, Henrene Honesty, who was the first President of the International Association of Enterostomal Therapy (IAET).  She left the position before I started at UCM but she had established the role of the specialty nurse and this is the role I stepped in to.  I think perhaps it was Henrene’s role modeling, despite the fact I never got to work with her, that provided me with direction in my career. Henrene was a leader in the IAET and wrote one of the early books (1972) in our field, Essential in Abdominal Ostomy Care.

Early in my practice I was working independently with staff and patients providing ostomy care both in the Medical Center as well as in the clinics. I quickly realized that I needed to expand my role. This meant two professional considerations: ongoing education (enrollment in a Master of Nursing program) and certification. The master’s program allowed me to focus on wound and ostomy care (my advisor was a PhD ET nurse), with many of my projects geared to wound healing and treatment (remember my basic ET preparation did not provide me with wound or continence care) as well as developed advanced nursing skills. Once finished with my masters and educated myself in continence care, taking the certification in all three areas was feasible. Soon after the IAET became the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society, and I was a Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN), well prepared for my role (at least most days!). My role has been strongly supported by the nursing and surgical departments at UCM and, gradually, my single role developed into a team approach with 7 WOCNCB Certified nurses, the majority of which are advanced practice nurses. I have been able to capitalize on my early roots and love of ostomy care nursing and have developed the outpatient ostomy clinic at UCM where along with one of my APRN colleagues provide care to ostomy outpatients.

We all make an impact on our patients, the staff we work with and on the image of nursing.  Certification demonstrates our knowledge and experience in our tri specialty.  I have had the pleasure of serving as a preceptor for many ostomy specialty prepared nurses as well as advanced practice nurses.  Educating, mentoring, and imparting on my students the value of certification is key in my role; as an experienced CWOCN it is my role as it should be yours that we pass our knowledge on, supporting high quality of care for our patients and supporting new clinicians.  There is nothing more satisfying then starting the semester with a new student who comes with little ostomy knowledge and talking to them at the end of their semester to find they are really invested in working with ostomy patients-job well done.  The next step for my students is to become certified and to have their skills validated.

Because of my specialty nursing organization and my certification, I have been able to support our specialty by serving as the President of the Wound Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, have edited three textbooks on ostomy care, have traveled worldwide to talk about the management of our patients, have been part of several ostomy related research projects and contributed to the development of the ostomy guidelines.  I have developed friendships with other certified ostomy nurses who have served as my mentors, coworkers and colleagues, my support and my sounding board.

The Certification Board shared this quote with me and asked to speak to one of these moments:When you’re a nurse, you know that every day you will touch a life, or a life will touch yours.”
-Author Unknown

A patient shared this story with me, which has touched me in a significant way and in some ways surprised me. At the end of each clinic visit, I walk my patients to the waiting room; it is a way to acknowledge the visit is complete and thank them for coming to see me.  When my next patient was in a room and ready to see me,she said she has watched what happens in the stoma clinic waiting room: we (the patients waiting) all look concerned, a bit scared and not very comfortable.  Then I watch when you walk one of your patients out the door after your visit. They are smiling, hugging you and seem like a different person.  Are you aware of how you make your patients feel? I was shocked and surprised at this, and ultimately very pleased: I, like many of you, get caught up on the problem they present with and fixing that problem that I think I forgot to enjoy that smile and that gratitude they provide me; and they provide me the reason I do this work. I hope you find this moment as well.

Embrace your story as a WOCNCB Certified nurse and share you story with your colleagues so you can serve as a role model and strengthen the delivery of certified wound ostomy and continence nursing.



In addition, we congratulate those reaching 30-year continuous certification in 2023!

Listen to the 45th Anniversary Podcast!

To highlight this milestone, we asked some of our longest continuously certified nurses to discuss the inspiration to become certified, the changes in the specialty, their practice and role over the years. The podcast features: Ruth Bryant, Janice Colwell, Mary Gloeckner, Bonnie S Rolstad, and Jessica Simmons. Listen here.

Celebrate WOC Nurse Week is April 16-22, 2023!

Thank you to all our certified nurses for all you are doing each and every day. We appreciate your dedication to patient care, as leaders in your specialty! Download signs to promote being WOCNCB Certified during WOC Week and share your photos via social media  #wocncb #nurses #certification #WOCNCB45 #WOCNurseWeek2023. For more resources and WOC Week toolkit visit the WOCN® Society website.

WOCNCB Board of Directors celebrating and promoting 45 years! Above front row left to right: Cathy Harmon, Holly Hovan, Sarah Erslev, Jessica Simmons, Jonathan F. Smith, Clay Collins, Jeanine Gleba. Back row left to right: Linda S. McKenna, Kathryn Khandaker, Laura Swoboda, Michael Kingan, (former WOCNCB President) and, Alex M. Aningalan.


UOAA Educational Award for Ostomy Nurse Certification!

Do you know someone interested in becoming a Certified Ostomy Care Nurse? UOAA is offering a NEW Educational Award to encourage more RNs to pursue a career specializing in ostomy care! WOCNCB® will provide a complimentary application exam fee (value $395) to the award winner! Learn more and share opportunity.

WOCN® Foundation Scholarship Program

The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) has established a program to award educational scholarships.Scholarships are awarded to deserving individuals who are committed to working in the specialty practice of wound, ostomy, or continence nursing. Learn more and share opportunity.

Be a CFCN Preceptor!

Be a CFCN Preceptor! Preceptors can earn PGP points for precepting medical professionals /students in the foot care specialty. Review the PGP handbook for details. If you are a CFCN and would like to be listed in the WOCNCB® online directory as a preceptor for foot care, learn more and sign up here.


Is it time for you to recertify? Are you in the process of completing your PGP? Join WOCNCB volunteers for PGP Office Hours, where you can ask questions in real time and learn more about the PGP process and resources.

Join Zoom Meeting:

Meeting ID: 856 5095 9651
Passcode: 916225

Save The Date!

Look for WOCNCB® at these upcoming 2023 conferences:

  • SAWC Spring co-located with the Diabetic Limb Salvage Conference: April 26-30 in National Harbor, MD. Learn more and register here.
  • National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI): May 22-24 in Philadelphia, PA. Learn more and register here.
  • WOCNext: June 4-7, 2023 at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, NV. For those who can't join in person,  live-streamed education will be offered on the same dates. Learn more and register here.
  • ANCC National Magnet/Pathway Conference: October 12-14 in Chicago, IL. Learn more and register here.
Phone: (888) 496-2622
Fax: (414) 276-2146
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