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WOCN Society's History
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WOCN Society's Historical Highlights


  • Norma Gill, who had an ileostomy, became the first professional enterostomal therapist.


  • Norma Gill and Rupert Turnbull opened the School of Enterostomal Therapy at Cleveland Clinic, requiring only that the trainee be an ostomate.


  • 12 stomal therapists formed the American Association of Enterostomal Therapists (AAET).
  • The original 12 founders were: Alveda Ahnafield, Jean Alvers, Charlotte Blackman (Carter), Kay Carlson, Robert Draper, Virginia Geimer, Norma Gill, Patricia Klemens, Darlene Larson, Edith Lenneberg, Bertha Okun and Jane Walker.


  • First meeting of the AAET took place at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation Education Building auditorium.
  • President Edith Lenneberg.
  • Name changed to the North American Association of Enterostomal Therapists (NAAET).
  • Less than a year old, the NAAET was bankrupt. Neither the treasurer nor the funds were ever seen again.


  • Second meeting of the NAAET took place in Cleveland.
  • Ferguson-Droste-Ferguson, Grand Rapids, Michigan, was accredited as the third training center for Enterostomal Therapy.


  • Third annual meeting took place in Hollywood, Florida.
  • Name changed to the International Association for Enterostomal Therapy (IAET).
  • President Henrene Honesty.
  • Roswell Park Memorial Institute in Buffalo, New York, became the fourth program in the nation.


  • Fourth annual conference in San Francisco, California.
  • First set of bylaws was drawn up; standards for the training schools were established which included the length of each program and requirements for certification; a bibliography was compiled; a salary and patient census survey was made
  • Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, became the fifth accredited school of enterostomal therapy.


  • Fifth annual conference was held in Chicago.
  • President Mary Jane May


  • Sixth annual conference in Denver, Colorado.


  • Bylaws required RN license for admission into educational programs and certification.


  • BS required for admission into educational programs and certification.


  • Established/incorporated a separate certification board.


  • Name changed to Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN), reflecting the expanded scope of practice to include wound and continence care.
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