R.B. Turnbull, Jr. MD WOC Nursing Education Program
Cleveland Clinic's R.B. Turnbull, Jr., MD Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (WOC) Nursing Education Program was the first WOC Nursing program in the world; established over sixty years ago. WOC Nursing Education prepares individuals to have a vital role in pre- and post-operative management of the person with an ostomy; to be instrumental in the prevention and treatment of pressure ulcers/injuries, to manage fistulas and other skin disorders; and to be a specialist in the care of individuals with urinary and fecal incontinence.
Students will acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to provide individuals with effective psychological support, discharge planning, rehabilitative counseling and follow-up care.
- For more information on Cleveland Clinic’s WOC Nursing educational program, please click on the Educational Programs tab or the WOC Registration tab above to review program details, an Application & Enrollment Guide, as well as the program’s contact information.
What is WOC Nursing?
Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing is a specialized field of nursing involving the care of individuals with abdominal stomas, dermal wounds, pressure injuries, incontinence and related skin conditions. WOC nurses are in demand in colorectal surgery, urology, pediatrics, oncology and rehabilitation departments, to name a few. Their expertise makes them valuable not only in the hospital; but also in outpatient clinics, private practice, home care, extended care facilities, industry and research, and nursing education programs.
Nearly one million people in North American have ostomies, and 70,000 new ostomy surgeries are performed each year. Recognizing that people with ostomies, fistulas, pressure ulcers/injuries and incontinence have special needs, Cleveland Clinic pioneered the Enterostomal Therapy (ET) Program, now called Wound, Ostomy Continence (WOC) Nursing Education Program.
Why become a WOC nurse?
WOC nurses are in demand throughout the country and around the world in all healthcare settings: hospital; home care; extended care facilities; outpatient clinics; private practice; industry and research; and educational institutions.
- WOC nurses have opportunities for higher pay.
- The professional prestige of being a RN WOC Nurse.
- Certification eligibility through the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board.
- Continuing nursing education contact hours are earned and can be applied to meet state licensing requirements.
- The personal satisfaction of providing in-depth, individualized care to individuals with WOC care needs.
For more information about Wound, Ostomy & Continence (WOC) Nursing contact:
- Wound Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society™.
- National Institutes of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).
- American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy.
- Cleveland Clinic Digestive Disease Institute and WOC Nursing.
- Society of Urologic Nurses & Associates (SUNA).
In 1958, Rupert B. Turnbull, Jr., MD, a pioneer in colorectal surgery at Cleveland Clinic learned that one of his former ileostomy patients, Norma Gill, was assisting stoma patients in her hometown of Akron, Ohio. He offered her a position as the world's first full-time enterostomal therapist and coined the term "enterostomal therapy."
The two established the first formal enterostomal therapy training program. This program would later be named the R.B. Turnbull Jr., MD Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing Education Program.
In 1968, at the suggestion of Dr. Turnbull, 12 of the program’s first graduates met and formed the North American Association of Enterostomal Therapists. A year later, the organization constituted a convention held at Cleveland Clinic. Today, the organization is known as the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ and it continues to have annual conferences.
When founded over sixty-four years ago, Cleveland Clinic's WOC Nursing Education Program was the first of its kind in the world. Since then, more than 2,000 individuals have graduated from the program and are practicing throughout the world. The program is well-established, well known and highly respected.
Contributing to the program’s reputation are its instructors. The program’s faculty have extensive experience in the field of WOC nursing, education, and the practice of WOC nursing in a variety of healthcare settings. The WOC Nursing Education Program collaborates with other WOC nurses to provide WOC nursing education opportunities.
- Professional Practice Concepts in WOC Nursing.
- Acute & Chronic Wounds.
- Fecal & Urinary Diversions (Ostomy).
- Urinary Fecal Incontinence.
- Download a list of WOC Terminal Objectives.
- Nursing Practicum Course.
What sets our program apart
First WOC Program in the World
- Rupert B. Turnbull, Jr. MD, Colorectal Surgeon at Cleveland Clinic and Norma Gill Thompson pioneered the Enterostomal Therapy Program; now called WOC Nursing.
- Cleveland Clinic established the first WOC school in the world, over 64 years ago.
- More than 2,000 of the approximate 6,000 WOC nurse specialists practicing throughout the world are graduates of this program.
Extensive Clinical Exposure
- Thanks to Cleveland Clinic's large global census of patients you will be exposed to a wide variety of medical conditions and treatments.
- Working closely with our WOC nurses, you will receive hands-on experience in caring for patients with intestinal and urinary stomas, urinary and fecal incontinence, pressure injuries, cutaneous fistulas and other selected skin conditions.
- Accredited by Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™.
- Cleveland Clinic Enterprise is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education.
- Approved by Allied Health & Education Council of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation*.
- Recognized by The World Council of Enterostomal Therapists.
In support of improving patient care, Cleveland Clinic Center for Continuing Education is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
All faculty are tri-specialty board-certified WOC nurses.
Kelly Jaszarowski MSN, RN, CNS, ANP, CWOCN is the Program Director with and has over 30 years’ experience in WOC Nursing and educating healthcare professionals. She has lectured locally and nationally as well as authored articles, edited books, and participated in nursing organizations. She is a Past President of the Mid-East Region of WOCN® and WOCN®. Ms. Jaszarowski joined the WOC Nursing Education Program team in 2013 as a Clinical Instructor and previously served as the Assistant Program Director.
Patricia Slachta, PhD, MSN, RN, APRN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN is serving as Assistant Program Director with over 35 years’ experience in WOC Nursing and education. Patricia has lectured locally and nationally on WOC nursing care. She has authored articles, edited books, and participated in nursing organizations; including serving in leadership positions.
Mike Klements, RN, MSN, CWOCN is a Clinical Instructor. He has over 5 years’ experience in WOC nursing and as a WOC educator. Prior to joining the WOC Nursing Education Program, Mike has served in nursing managerial roles and has prior pediatric nursing experience.
The online WOC Nursing Education Program incorporates technology with the WOCN® accredited curriculum in a highly interactive virtual classroom. Students acquire the knowledge and skills to provide patients with evidence-based clinical care, psychological support, discharge planning, rehabilitative counseling, and follow-up care.
The online curriculum includes:
- Professional Practice Concepts in WOC Nursing.
- Acute & Chronic Wounds Management.
- Fecal and Urinary Diversions.
- Urinary & Fecal Incontinence Management.
- Practicum (Clinical) Course.
Graduates of the program are eligible to sit for the certification exam through the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Certification Board.
Following the online didactic program that includes projects, self-directed learning modules, asynchronous discussion threads and online testing, each student is required to complete a clinical practicum with an approved preceptor. The required number of clinical hours vary based upon the number of specialty courses elected. Each specialty course requires a minimum of a 40 hour practicum.
Our online instructors are available to students and engage regularly with students through various communication channels including email, in classroom discussions and message boards.
Benefits of Online Education in WOC Nursing
- Students complete the program and become eligible for certification from the comfort of their own homes.
- No added expense for travel, housing, and meals unless electing to complete clinicals onsite in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Many opportunities to interact with classmates and faculty.
- The program includes a clinical component that may be is completed with an approved WOC nursing preceptor.
- Courses prepare students to play a vital role in pre- and post-operative management of the person with an ostomy; to be instrumental in the prevention and treatment of pressure injuries, fistulas, and other skin disorders; and to be a specialist in the care of individuals with urinary and fecal incontinence.
- Students will acquire the necessary skills to provide patients with evidence-based clinical care, psychological support, discharge planning, rehabilitative counseling, and follow-up care.
Applicants must be a registered nurse, with a minimum of a four-year baccalaureate nursing degree, or baccalaureate degree in a field other than nursing with demonstrated baccalaureate level nursing competencies in the areas of health assessment, leadership and management, research and statistics, and community health nursing. Additionally, applicants must have one full years’ RN clinical experience with current nursing clinical experience within the past five years to enroll in this program, and Applicants should be a legal, U.S. resident.
Scholarships for Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing Education may be available from the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nurses Society™.
Admissions and inquiry contact information
R.B. Turnbull, Jr., MD
WOC Nursing Education Program
WOC Admissions & Business Office Coordinator II
Mobile Phone: 216.317.7163
Registration links & information
For more information, download the entire WOC Admissions Application Guide.
Don't want to download and print the entire application? Use the links below to find and print exactly what you need.
- WOC Program Course Descriptions:
- Program Enrollment Options.
- WOC Program Overview Letter.
- Traditional vs Experiential Pathway; How to Choose?
- Traditional vs Experiential Pathway; Enrollment Documents Required.
- Class Schedules & Other Important Dates.
- Clinical Schedule for Onsite Practicum (Optional).
- Enrollment - Prerequisites, Admissions Application Registration Fee and Admissions Process..
- Course Options for Clinicals.
- Tuition - Drop Courses and Tuition Refunds.
- Housing Options.
- Textbooks, Medical Library, and Laptop.
The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society TM is a professional community dedicated to advancing the practice and delivery of expert healthcare to individuals with wound, ostomy, and continence care needs. WOCN supports its members’ practice through advocacy, education, and research (WOCN, 2022).
For more information, visit the WOCN’s website