Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse

Last Updated:
April 27, 2023

Job Description Overview

A Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse, also known as an Enterostomal Therapy nurse, specializes in caring for patients with wounds, ostomies, or continence issues. They work in hospitals, clinics, home care settings, and long-term care facilities. 

In this Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse job description, you can learn about the responsibilities of this essential healthcare role. WOC Nurses assess and manage complex wounds, skin, and ostomy care issues. They evaluate patients, develop care plans, and coordinate treatment options. They also provide education and counseling for patients and families on the latest treatments and products.

Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses collaborate with other healthcare professionals to provide the best patient care. They have a keen ability to analyze complex situations, are detail-oriented and compassionate with patients. This rewarding job is essential to the physical comfort and emotional well-being of patients who require wound, ostomy or continence care. It is a highly respected role in the healthcare industry.

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Job Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assess and diagnose wounds, ostomies, and continence disorders
  • Develop and implement treatment plans
  • Monitor and evaluate patient progress
  • Provide patient education on self-care and disease management
  • Collaborate with other healthcare professionals to ensure holistic care
  • Stay up-to-date with the latest research and technology in wound, ostomy, and continence care
  • Document patient progress and treatment plans accurately and thoroughly
  • Provide emotional support to patients and their families
  • Manage and maintain specialized equipment and supplies
  • Advocate for the needs and rights of patients with wound, ostomy, and continence disorders.

Experience and Education Requirements

To become a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse in the healthcare industry, you need to have a strong educational background and experience in nursing care. Usually, this requires a bachelor's degree in nursing, but some employers may consider an associate degree. It's also essential to be a licensed registered nurse and have experience working in acute care and postoperative settings. Additionally, you might consider getting a certification from Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board, which requires you to have at least two years of experience in wound, ostomy, and continence care. Other important skills include good communication, problem-solving, and critical thinking abilities, as well as the ability to work independently and as part of a team.

Salary Range

A Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse, also known as a WOC Nurse or Enterostomal Therapy Nurse (ET Nurse), is a specialized nurse who focuses on the care of patients with wounds, ostomies, and continence issues. According to data from Payscale, the average salary for a WOC Nurse in the United States is around $74,000 per year, with a range of $56,000 - $102,000 per year. Factors that can impact salary include years of experience, location, and additional certifications.

In Canada, the average salary for a WOC Nurse is around CAD $80,000 per year, according to data from Glassdoor. In Australia, the average salary is around AUD $91,000 per year, according to data from Indeed.

Overall, the salary range for a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse can vary depending on a variety of factors. However, these specialized nurses are in high demand and can often earn a higher salary than other types of nurses due to their expertise in caring for patients with complex wound, ostomy, and continence needs.


  • Payscale (https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=WoundOstomyContinenceNurse(WOCN)/Salary)
  • Glassdoor (https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salary/Enterostomal-Therapy-Nurse-Salaries-E242151.htm)
  • Indeed (https://au.indeed.com/salaries/Wound-Ostomy-Continence-Nurse-Salaries)

Career Outlook

The career outlook for a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN) in the healthcare industry is growing over the next 5 years. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of registered nurses, including WOCNs, is projected to grow 7% from 2019 to 2029, which is faster than the average for all occupations. This growth is due to an aging population that requires specialized care, including the management of wound, ostomy, and continence issues.

Furthermore, as healthcare becomes more patient-centered, the demand for specialized nurses like WOCNs will continue to increase. In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the need for wound care and infection prevention management, further emphasizing the importance of WOCNs in healthcare.

Overall, the career outlook for WOCNs is bright, with a growing demand for specialized nursing skills in the healthcare industry.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What does a Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (WOCN) do?

A: A WOCN is a specially trained nurse who helps patients manage complex wounds, ostomies, and continence issues.

Q: What types of wounds do WOCNs treat?

A: WOCNs treat a wide variety of wounds, including surgical wounds, pressure ulcers, diabetic ulcers, and venous ulcers, among others.

Q: What is an ostomy, and what does a WOCN do to help patients with ostomies?

A: An ostomy is a surgical procedure that allows waste to bypass a damaged or diseased portion of the digestive or urinary tract. A WOCN helps patients learn how to care for their ostomy and prevent complications.

Q: How do WOCNs help patients with continence issues?

A: WOCNs evaluate patients with incontinence to determine the cause and develop a personalized management plan. Treatment may involve exercises, medications, or devices to assist with voiding.

Q: What qualifications are required to become a WOCN?

A: A WOCN must be a registered nurse with a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree or higher. After completing additional education and clinical hours, they can take a certification exam to become a WOCN.

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