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An NSWOC’s story of resilience, perseverance, and triumph against cancer: How Norena Gonzales became a WOCC(C) Certified NSWOC

This NSWOC Week, we are privileged to share the story of Norena Gonzales. We invite you to read the story below as you celebrate NSWOC Week. We thank Norena for sharing her story of resilience, perseverance, and triumph. We are so proud to have NSWOCs like Norena in our community and we hope her story inspires you too!


Norena Gonzales's journey through the NSWOC program is a remarkable tale of resilience and determination. Despite facing significant health challenges and personal struggles, she emerged triumphant, inspiring countless NSWOC students along the way.

Norena's dedication to completing the program was unwavering, even amidst the chaos of a Covid outbreak at her workplace. Despite the demanding circumstances, she persevered, completing the wound theory component and pushing through the obstacles.

In January 2021, Norena received a devastating diagnosis of stage 3-4 cancer, with a prognosis of only six months if she declined aggressive treatment. Despite the grueling chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and major surgery that followed, she remained determined to continue her studies.

With unwavering resolve, Norena completed her final NSWOC course in April 2022, alongside all preceptorship requirements by August 15 of the same year. Despite her ongoing battle with cancer, she applied for the WOCC(C) CNA examination, scheduled for November 10, 2022.

However, just before the exam, Norena received heartbreaking news—her cancer had recurred and metastasized in her lungs. Undeterred, she pressed on, dedicating herself to self-review despite battling pneumonia until the end of October.

Facing numerous challenges, including health setbacks and doubts about her ability to perform, Norena took the exam on November 10, 2022. Despite needing to step out of the examination room twice due to persistent coughing, she persevered.

On December 6, 2022, Norena received the news that she had passed the examination, a testament to her resilience and dedication to her goals. In January, she began immunotherapy, navigating its side effects with courage and determination.

Norena's journey to becoming a WOCC(C)certified NSWOC was fuelled by her passion and dreams. She became a WOCC(C) certified NSWOC because it was her greatest passion and dream. Norena was able to pass the CNA exam because she took her Academic Advisors (AA) advice to look at the critical feedback she received during the program with a positive light, which encouraged her to work even harder.

Receiving her NSWOC Diploma at the NSWOCC 42nd National Conference in Ottawa, Ontario, on May 6, 2023, Norena's story serves as an inspiration to all NSWOCs, SWANs, and NSWOCC members across the country. Her unwavering spirit and dedication remind us all of the power of perseverance in the face of adversity.

“Being a patient and certified NSWOC, I believe that having experiences, expertise and advanced knowledge and skills in wound, ostomy and continence care can improve patients’ quality of life, provide the highest quality of care, and reduce the healthcare cost by providing education and teaching to patients, families and other healthcare and nursing staff.”

- Norena Gonzales, RN, BScN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

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May 13

Norena Gonzales, once a cancer fighter, now mesmerizes Orange County as a magician, epitomizing triumph. Battling the formidable foe, Gonzales defied odds, summoning resilience and hope. With each trick, she weaves a tale of overcoming adversity, captivating audiences with her magic and her story. From the shadows of illness emerged a beacon of inspiration, her journey a testament to the indomitable human spirit. Gonzales embodies transformation, turning pain into wonder, fear into fascination. Her metamorphosis into the Orange County Magician symbolizes not just entertainment, but the power of the human will to conquer, inspire, and enchant against all odds.

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