top of page
  • Writer's pictureNSWOCC

Proper Usage of NSWOC & SWAN Designation and WOCC(C) Credential; improper use of WOCN® trademark

We are writing to address the proper use of designations and credentials within NSWOCC, and namely for those NSWOCs who might also be using the WOCN® trademarked acronym via the WOCN® Society in the USA. We have received a letter from the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) regarding the improper usage of the term "WOCN," and we kindly ask for your attention and cooperation in this matter.

Here is an excerpt from the letter from the WOCN Board of Directors:

"It has come to our attention that individuals and organizations throughout our industry have been improperly using the term “WOCN”. WOCN® is a trademarked acronym abbreviated for the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®). The most common issue is individuals referring to themselves as a “WOCN®”. The acronym should never be used as a nursing credential. If the individual is not certified, they should refer to themselves as a WOC nurse, wound nurse, ostomy nurse, continence nurse."

We urge all NSWOCC Members who might use the WOCN® acronym to adhere to the guidelines provided by the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ to ensure that the term "WOCN®" is used correctly in relation to their brand.


For all NSWOCs, we have included information from a recent blog post that outlines the correct way to refer to and/or write your NSWOC designation and WOCC(C) credential. The appropriate usage of the Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Canada association name, designation, and certification credential is crucial for maintaining brand recognition and clarity of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) certification. This supports a consistent identity for the association and its members and upholds the integrity of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Institute.


Please find the relevant information below:


Correct Usage of “NSWOCC”, the NSWOC Designation and WOCC(C) Credential:


The Association (NSWOCC®): The acronym NSWOCC® stands for Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence Canada. It should not be used as a name, credential, certification, or position title for any individual or group. Pronounce NSWOCC either with emphasis on each letter or as "ENSWOK Canada."


The Individual (NSWOC®): Only registered nurses who have completed a recognized wound, ostomy, and continence education program can use the designation NSWOC®. This designation is protected by a registered trademark. When using the NSWOC designation, clarify that you are a "Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence."


The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Institute: Graduates of the Wound, Ostomy & Continence Institute's NSWOC Program (formerly WOC-EP Program) may use the NSWOC designation. The WOC-EP acronym is not to be used as a designation.


CNA Certification (WOCC(C)): Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy & Continence are the only eligible candidates for the CNA certification exam in wound, ostomy, and continence care. The CNA holds the rights to the WOCC(C) and PSCC(C) credentials.


Use of Designations and Credentials: NSWOCC suggests that designations and credentials appear after the individual's name, with or without a comma and a single space after each designation. NSWOC comes after educational degrees, professional designations, and credentials, but before CNA credentials. Both the NSWOC designation and WOCC(C) credential can be used together by certified nurses.


Examples of Correct Designation and Credential Utilization:

  • Susan Jones, RN, MN, BScN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

  • Susan Jones, PhD, RN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

  • Susan Jones, RN, BScN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

  • Susan Jones, BScN, RN, NSWOC

Note: It is incorrect to place a "(C)" after NSWOC. The correct format is WOCC(C).

For a comprehensive understanding, read the complete Designation and Credential Position Statement for Nurses Specialized inWound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC) here.


Skin Wellness Associate Nurse (SWAN) Designation:

Similar to the NSWOC Designation, NSWOCC suggests that the SWAN designation appear after the individual's name, with or without a comma and a single space after each designation. SWAN comes after educational degrees, professional designations, and credentials.


Examples of Correct Designation and Credential Utilization:

  • Susan Jones, RPN, SWAN

  • Susan Jones, LPN, SWAN

We appreciate your attention to this matter and your dedication to maintaining the high standards and reputation of the NSWOC & SWAN professions. Your commitment to accuracy and professionalism is integral to upholding the credibility and distinction of the NSWOCC brand.


If you have any questions or require further clarification, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at office@nswoc.ca.

149 views0 comments
bottom of page