Why choose the OCA Program?

Acknowledging the ever growing demand for ostomy care services in all health care settings, the WOCN Society developed this educational program to:

  • Educate and prepare more skilled ostomy care providers across all health care settings.
  • Enhance nurses’ ability to provide optimal care for patients with ostomies.
  • Provide the non-specialty nurse the ability to provide optimal care for patients with ostomies under the direction of a supervising WOC specialty nurse (i.e., WOC registered nurse, WOC graduate-level prepared registered nurse, WOC advanced practice registered nurse); a physician, physician’s assistant, or nurse practitioner; or a clinical nurse specialist (experienced in ostomy care).


Benefits of the OCA Program include:

  • The OCA Program is an evidence-based online course that meets international guidelines for ostomy care and provides 27.0 contact hours for nurses.
  • Unlike other ostomy education courses, the OCA Program requires hands-on training and testing facilitated by WOCNCB®-certified specialty nurse (CWOCN®, CWON®, COCN®, CWOCN-AP® or COCN-AP®).
  • Pricing is designed to provide affordable ostomy care education.
  • The on-demand delivery platform provides flexible and accessible education.
  • The Program was developed and presented by internationally-recognized CWOCN leaders and educators in ostomy and fistula patient management.
  • Program content provides clear delineation of the role and importance of CWOCN consultation for complex ostomy or fistula patient management.
  • The WOCN Society is an accredited provider of CNEs through the American Nursing Credentialing Center (ANCC).

Where can the Program be offered?

The OCA Program can be offered in any healthcare setting, in one of two ways:

  • An online course that is followed by on-site competency training and testing. The online Program can be presented in any environment, under the direction of a WOCN® Society-approved WOC nurse (OCA Course Coordinator). The didactic lectures are delivered through pre-recorded online learning modules, featuring well known and seasoned WOC experts, to ensure consistency in the content of the program. The OCA Course Coordinators for the online course may add their own case studies/examples to clarify areas that might be questioned by the attendee. The online course coordinators will also be responsible for the onsite competency evaluations. Alternatively, they may recruit OCA Clinical Skills Instructors.
  • An on-site course that is delivered live, over 4-6 days, by expert faculty identified by the WOCN Society. This delivery method also includes competency training and testing.

For more information about the on-site OCA Programs, please contact the WOCN Society at oca@wocn.org.

Who can take the course? (BSN, OT, PT, PT aide, PA, etc.) What are the eligibility requirements?

The OCA Program is for non-specialty licensed ostomy care providers, such as:

1. Licensed health care providers.
2. LPN’s/LVN’s.
3. Non-baccalaureate RN’s.
4. Baccalaureate prepared RN’s and Master’s prepared APN’s who do not wish to specialize but want adequate knowledge in ostomy care.
5. Physicians and other clinicians who want adequate knowledge in ostomy care.

Any licensed nurse is eligible to participate in the Program and will receive continuing education contact hours upon completion. All other participants will obtain a certificate upon successful completion of the program.

How do I get the OCA Program at my institution?

The first step is to get your institution on board with purchasing and providing the program. The second step is to identify a COCN, CWON, or CWOCN who is willing to serve as Course Coordinator, and to have her/him complete the Course Coordinator application. This is critical because your agency cannot purchase the program until there is an approved Course Coordinator.

Once you have an approved Course Coordinator and your agency has purchased access to the Program (flat fee of $2,500 for a Program License that lasts until 12/31/2025), you will need to identify clinicians who will participate in the course and your agency will need to pay a $175 licensing fee for each participant. At that point all participants will be given access to the online Program and the course can begin.

What is the cost of the OCA Online Course?

There is an initial fee of $2,500; this licensing fee permits your agency to offer the OCA Program until December 31, 2025. There is an additional fee of $175 per participant within the licensing period. This fee covers administrative costs of managing the Program for each participant.

Any additional fees (such as honoraria for course coordinators or the cost of supplies for the hands-on applied learning day) must be covered by the facility.

Can I preview the OCA lesson videos?

Below are short videos previews of three OCA Program modules. These videos provide an example of the video format and the presentation style.

OCA Program Module 1

OCA Program Module 6

OCA Module 7

How long is the program?

Each participant is expected to complete the entire Program within three months. The online program is designed to be self-paced, however it is recommended that the didactic component of the course be completed in 2 months’ time, so that the competency testing/final examination can be arranged in a timely manner following the didactic.

The total estimated time required for completion of all elements of the course is about 35 hours.

The estimated time to view all pre-recorded online learning modules and to complete online review questions is approximately 12-18 hours.

Additional time will be required for the applied learning day, which typically takes about 3-5 hours and includes review of critical content, preparation for the final exam, skills demonstration and practice.

Participants are also required to meet with the Course Coordinator at defined points throughout the course and to complete a final exam and skills competency testing.

Click here to view a sample 12 week schedule.

What clinical skill competencies are included in the OCA program?

Upon completion of the OCA program, participants will be able to demonstrate competency in the following skills:

  • Measuring a stoma and pouching
  • Management of a night drainage system
  • Differential evaluation of peristomal and stomal complications
  • Colostomy irrigation
  • Fistula management (e.g. closed suction system, fistula management system)
  • Stabilization of percutaneous tubes

Who provides the educational materials for the course?

The course curriculum, instructional/delivery methods, and methods of evaluation of participants (written examination, competency evaluation scenarios/scoring guides/criteria for evaluation, etc.) were developed by the OCA Task Force and Committee and are produced and copyrighted by the WOCN Society.

Who provides the supplies for the hands-on clinical skill competency testing?

Supplemental materials used in the hands-on skill testing will be the responsibility of the individual course coordinator/facility.

Is there a cap for the attendance?

No. It is up to each individual OCA Course Coordinator to determine manageable class size. However, it is important to remember that one cannot enroll more than 100 participants within the 3-year program license.

Is there a clinical component or precepting that needs to be done to complete the Program?

No, there are no precepting or clinical requirements. The didactic instruction and final written examination will be provided online. The overall course will be facilitated by a WOCN-approved OCA course coordinator (WOC nurse) who is onsite and will review and facilitate the learning/evaluation activities for the participants. The course coordinator will provide clarification and guidance to learners, as needed. Additionally, the course coordinator will be responsible to assist with demonstration and evaluation of the clinical skills competencies in simulated experiences, following established criteria and scoring methodology. Depending on the number of participants, additional WOCN Society-approved clinical skills instructors may be used to demonstrate and evaluate the clinical competencies.

How does the WOCN Society market the OCA Program?

The CWOCN who wants to bring the OCA Program into their facility is responsible for marketing the program to their facility administrators/CNO, and for recruiting their participants. WOCN has created a number of marketing tools to help with this effort, which can be found on the Getting Started with the OCA Program page.

What is the role of the WOC nurse as compared to the OCA? Is there any conflict of practice/purpose with the program?

There is no conflict of practice or purpose. Please refer to the the WOCN Society Position Statement: Role and Scope of Practice for Ostomy Care Providers that describes the appropriate utilization of each level of ostomy care provider.

WOC nurses are “specialty” nurses as recognized by the American Nurses Association who are prepared as experts and leaders by virtue of RN licensure, minimum BS degree, education from a WOCN Society accredited program and/or certification from the WOCNCB. Ostomy Care Associates will not be prepared to serve as leaders but to function as integral members of the ostomy care team to support and extend the role of the WOC specialty nurse.

How can the OCA title be used? What documentation is provided? Could the OCA take the title with them if they leave the facility?

Individuals who successfully complete the course requirements will receive a certificate of completion documenting they completed the Ostomy Care Associate Program and earned 27 contact hours. Completion of continuing education programs does not customarily confer a title upon the participant such as occurs with licensure or certification. A sample position description for a nurse completing the OCA Program is available as part of the program. OCA graduates may share this document with their employer and use it as a guide/template/foundation, if agreeable by the employer.

How can I become an OCA Course Coordinator or an OCA Clinical Skills Instructor?

The following criteria apply to course coordinators and clinical skills instructors:

  • Must be an active member of the WOCN Society.
  • Must be certified by WOCNCB as COCN, CWON, or CWOCN.
  • At least 1 year of clinical experience in ostomy care, post certification.
  • Clinical experience/expertise in the following areas: Ostomy patient management (including colostomy irrigation); Fistula management; and Percutaneous tube management
  • Strong interpersonal skills.

Additional criteria for course coordinators include:

  • The online course coordinator must have experience/expertise in small group work and instruction such as planning/presenting in-services, new staff orientation and precepting/mentoring students.
  • The onsite faculty must have experience/expertise in public speaking/presentations at a regional/national level, as well as experience/expertise in small group work and instruction.


Click here for more information and to apply.

What happens if there are multiple instructors? Is there a difference in the process, application, or cost?

The cost remains the same regardless of the number of WOC instructors (course coordinators) or WOC nurses serving as clinical skills instructors to evaluate the competencies. All instructors must meet the WOCN Society criteria and be approved to serve in this role. Application and approval processes for co-coordinators are the same as for course coordinators. Course coordinators may share one program license, which allows them to oversee the progress of the same set of participants.

Click here for more information and to apply.

What are the legal ramifications of the OCA and the WOC nurse? Are there liabilities to the WOC nurse?

When collaborating with other nurses, a WOC nurse is not responsible for the actions of others. Scope of practice limits are defined by each state and each nurse is accountable to practice in accordance with the specific requirements of the licensing boards in the state(s) in which he or she practices.

How many contact hours are offered upon successful completion of the OCA Program?

The comprehensive OCA program offers 27.0 contact hours through ANCC. Contact hours are only available to nurses.

Certification vs. Certificate of Completion accompanied by contact hours: What’s the difference?

Although the OCA course is not a certification program, as an educational program developed and endorsed by the WOCN Society it does carry a certain amount of credibility. The WOCN Society is internationally recognized as a premier provider of wound, ostomy and continence education. It is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Also, many states require RNs and LPN/LVNs to have a certain numbers of contact or continuing education hours for re-licensure or re-certification. This course can help meet that need.

The Society continues to highly value and support the WOCN® Society-accredited education programs and the process of certification for WOC specialty nurses by the WOCNCB. We also recognize the ever growing demand for ostomy care services in all health care settings, and so have developed this program for care providers at the non-specialty level in order to achieve positive healing outcomes, prevent complications, and prevent unnecessary hospitalizations. While not all providers of ostomy care will seek or are eligible for WOCNCB certification, continuing education is essential for all levels of ostomy care providers to ensure quality of care for the patients we serve.

Can credits from the OCA Program be applied towards a WOCNEP program?

No. The OCA Program is geared to the non-specialty level of practice and does not have the depth and breadth of content as presented in the WOCN Society accredited nursing education programs (WOCNEPs). WOCNEPs have very specific requirements for the curriculum with content and methods of instruction that are designed to prepare post BS degree registered nurses for specialty practice and certification.

Will CMS recognize the OCA graduates in long term care as a team leader in absence of a WOC specialty nurse?

The OCA graduates will not be prepared to serve as the “team leader.” Please refer to WOCN Society Position Statement: Role and Scope of Practice for Ostomy Care Providers.

Can I earn PGP points for teaching the OCA program?

OCA Course Coordinators and Clinical Skills Instructors can earn PGP points under the “Teaching” category. Points allocated for the OCA Program reflect the need for personal preparation in order to answer learner questions and be prepared for interactive on line discussions. You cannot claim PGP points for the independent development of learning materials and content.

For more information, including how to properly document your involvement with the OCA Program, how many and what types of hours are eligible, etc., please contact the WOCNCB.

Can participants receive advanced practice credit for participation in the OCA program?

ANCC allows nurses to self-designate advance practice credits. This means that a nurse can decide if the education she/he is about to receive is considered advanced practice based on the nurse’s current scope of practice, education level, experience, etc. In other words, those who are taking the OCA program could claim AP credits for the program, since knowledge gained by attending these programs is of higher level and can be considered advanced practice.

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