How to Train to Become a Stoma Nurse

Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Stoma nurses specialise in assisting patients recovering from slow-healing wounds. Stoma nurses are also referred to as wound ostomy and continence nurses because they sometimes deal with urinary and gastrointestinal disorders.

Becoming a WOC nurse requires specialised training over and above the education that traditional nurses obtain. Stoma nurses typically work with patients in a post-surgical setting and can work with both adult and paediatric patients.

Obtain a bachelor's degree in nursing. Going to nursing school is a two-step process. During your first two years of college, you can expect to complete your general education requirements and prerequisite courses needed for nursing school. Nursing programs generally require that you maintain a 2.5 or 3.0 GPA to be admitted to their program. Prerequisite courses in microbiology, chemistry, organic chemistry and human anatomy and physiology are also generally required with a minimum required GPA. Students who are admitted to a college or university are not typically admitted to the school's nursing program until their junior year of college. Once admitted to nursing school, complete the required coursework to become a registered nurse.

Obtain your nursing license to practice in your state. Nursing requirements can vary by state, but all 50 states require that you pass the national licensing exam, the NCLEX-RN. Check with your state licensing board to determine if you must meet additional qualifications to be licensed.

Complete a WOC education program. The program must be accredited by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society. Programs can be completed through online education, at-home study courses or on-site training. Schools offering training programs include the Emory University School of Medicine, LaSalle University, the Medical University of South Carolina and the University of Washington.

Complete and submit your application to the WOCN. You must meet the minimum education requirements or demonstrate the necessary experience to be certified through the examination process. If you have not completed an accredited WOC education program, you can still test for certification if you have completed 1,500 hours of clinical experience, including 375 in the last year prior to your application for certification.

Take and pass your certification exam. Schedule your exam once you have met all educational or experience requirements. The fee for the examination is £195 as of 2011. Practice tests and study materials are available through the WOCN Certification Board website (see Resources).