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History of the WOCNCB

Established January 1978
Examinations Began November 1979

Historical background on the evolution of Enterostomal Theroapists (ETs):
1958 - Rupert Turnbull, Jr., MD trains Norma Gill to rehabilitate ostomy patients. Dr. Turnbull coins the term "Enterostomal Therapist."
1961 - Norma Gill and Dr. Turnbull begin training ETs at the Cleveland Clinic.
1968 - American Association of Enterostomal Therapists (AAET) forms.
1969 - Association name changed to North American Association for Enterostomal Therapy (NAAET).
1971 - NAAET name changes to International Association for Enterostomal Therapy (IAET).
1992 - IAET changes name to WOCN® Society (Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses Society)

January 1978
IAET voted to establish a certification committee/board to plan and implement the certification of new graduates of accredited ET Nursing Education Programs (ETNEPs). The Psychological Corporation was chosen to develop, implement and evaluate the examination.

October 1978
The certification committee/board voted to become a separate body from the Accreditation Committee and call themselves the ET Nursing Certification Board (ETNCB). The credential would be Certified in Enterostomal Therapy Nursing (CETN). Certification effective for 5 years. Students enrolled after 2/28/79 will be required to take the certification examination to be Board Certified. Others would be "granted" one certification period. All graduates prior to 2/29/78 must re-certify by 12/31/84.

November 1979
First examination administered. June 1984 Qualifications changed to "must be officially graduated from ETNEP to be eligible." Non-nurse, LPN, LVN and RN were eligible.

November 1984
Professional Testing Corporation begins contract as full service testing agency for the administration of the examinations.

ETNEPs require a bachelor's degree to enter programs.

IAET changes name to WOCN® Society (Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses Society) and opens membership to all nurses practicing in the field of wound, ostomy and/or continence care.

March 1993
ETNCB changes name to Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB®). Offers 3 specialty examinations in addition to generalist (250 questions each.) Offers new credentials CWCN, COCN and CCCN.

November 1994
Board decided to adopt policy initiated by ONS (Oncology Nurses Society) to require bachelor's degree for initial certificants beginning in the year 2000. (Those already certified and maintaining continuous certification will be grandfathered.) Letter sent to non-nurses (LVN, LPN, ET) requesting that they relinquish the credential effective January 1995.

December 1995
First NOCA meeting attended by WOCNCB representative. Many discoveries made related to standards, accepted credentialing practices (including NCCA Accreditation.) Board votes to pursue alternative methods to recertify.

March 1996
Hired consultant to look at the Professional Growth Program (PGP) for recertification.

May 1997
Terminated contract with Professional Testing Company (PTC). Signed contract with Applied Measurement Professionals (AMP) to develop, implement and evaluate the credentialing program.

August 1997
Job Analysis (Role Delineation) conducted. Job Analysis Committee convened to define tasks essential to practice. WOCNCB begins item bank analysis. Board voted to add the following eligibility pathways: 1. Graduate of a non-accredited graduate program in nursing with documentation of course work related to specialty. 2. 2000 Hour experiential pathway.

December 1997
Examination Committee appointed (13 members). Pilot program for recertification via Professional Growth Program (PGP) began.

January 1998
Began awarding CWOCN® (and CWCN®, COCN®, CCCN®) credentials to recertifying nurses. WOCNCB marketing booth designed and debuted at Multi-specialty Nursing Conference, Orlando, Florida.

March 1998
Examination Committee convenes for the first time. Public Member added to the Board membership. "Ask the Board" website feature introduced.

June 1998
First administration of the new WOCNCB examinations with 80 items on each examination (wound, ostomy, continence). Candidates select the examination(s) desired. New lapel pins stating "Certified by the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing Certification Board" offered.

July 1998
Marketing Committee formed. WOCNCB marketing booth premiers at the WOCN Annual Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah. Item writing session conducted by Larry Fabrey, Vice President, AMP, was held at the WOCN Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah.

November 1998
Board committed to computer-based testing beginning in 2002. Board votes to change criteria for Experiential Pathway to the following beginning in the year 2000: 1,500 clinical experience hours in the last 5 years for each specialty in which certification is sought.

April 1999
Board votes to pursue Foot & Nail Certification. Board votes to change criteria for Experiential Pathway to the following beginning in the year 2000: 50 contact hours and 1,500 clinical experience hours in the last 5 years for each specialty in which certification is sought. Professional Growth Program Committee and Credentialing Review and Appeals Committee formed.

June 1999
"Marketing Your Credential" pre-conference session held at the WOCN Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN. Board votes to increase the number of Board members to 8 with staggered 4 year terms.

October 1999
Foot & Nail Certification Advisory Committee formed. Board committed to a Foot & Nail Certification Job Analysis.

November 1999
First open election of Board members held.

August 2000
Professional Growth Program (PGP) Handbook developed.

Sent surveys for Foot & Nail Certification job analysis.

Received NCCA (National Commission for Certifying Agencies) accreditation.

June 2001
Job Analysis sent out to certificants.

September 2001
New test matrix based upon Job Analysis.

October 2001
Computer-based testing.

January 2002
Changed management firm to Executive Director, Inc.

August 2002
Task Force formed to research feasibility of Advanced Practice (AP) credential for WOC nurses.

December 2002
CETN credential officially retired. Self Assessment Examination (practice exam) available online. Professional Growth Program (PGP) Handbook revised.

September 2003
Foot & Nail Advisory Panel met. Test blueprint and eligibility requirements for new foot and nail credential/exams finalized.

October 2003
Professional Growth Program (PGP) Handbook revised.

December 2003
Position Statement issued on Advanced Practice.

January 2004
Examination Handbook revised. Foot and Nail Practice Analysis completed.

February 2004
Foot & Nail Examination Committee formed. Test development in progress, planned for launch in 2005. Board approved eligibility requirements for candidates to apply for Foot & Nail credential exams.

October 2004
Board agreed to move forward with WOC Advanced Practice credential.

January 2005
Began administering Foot & Nail Examination for new credential, Certified Foot Care Nurse (CFCN®).

April 2005
Advanced Practice role delineation survey sent.

June 2005
Advanced Practice CWOCN certification via portfolio made available for Graduate level NP and CNS. (CWOCN-AP®)

November 2005
Board approved duo-specialty credential for wound/ostomy nurse, CWON®

January 2006
Began Hardship Assistance Program for qualified candidates applying.

March 2006
CFCN candidates are now required to have eight hours of clinical experience if applying via the Experiential Pathway.

March 2006
Change to eligibility for Experiential Pathway, so that of the 1,500 hours clinical experience 375 must be completed within one year prior to certification application.

May 2007
Board agreed to implement an Ad Hoc Committee on Evidence-Based Practice.

September 2007
Board approved to require any certificant with lapsed credentials greater than two years are required to prove eligibility via the Experiential Pathway, effective January 2008.

Board approved
to require candidates to successfully complete exam(s) within five years of graduation from a Wound, Ostomy, Continence Education Program, or they must then prove eligibility via the Experiential Pathway, effective January 2008.

February 2008
Board approved when the WOCNCB makes a change in policy to eligibility criteria to (re)certify, the Board must provide written notification to its certificants and provide 1 year before the change goes into place.

March 2008
Board approved members of the Board and all Committees actively involved in WOCNCB business will receive a two-year extension of all currently held WOCNCB credentials beyond their term of service and are exempt from recertification during their term of service. This does not include certifications earned in the future or after election or appointment to the Board or Committees – in other words, extensions are not grandfathered.

April 2008
Board approved to move forward in the process for development and evaluation of Advanced Practice wound, ostomy, and/or continence specialty certification by examination.

Board approved to move forward with completing a job analysis to assess possibility of offering certification at the LPN level. Board agreed NOT to offer non-BSN RN level.

May 2008
Board approved to blend the Graduate Pathway requirements into the Experiential Pathway, stating that "candidates must either have 50 Continuing Education (CE) credits related to the specialty or college coursework credits equal to 50 CE credits." Effective August 2009.

January 2009
Eligibility change. Experiential Pathway wording to state, "Within each specialty for which certification is sought, 50 contact hours (CEUs) or an equivalent in college course work post-Baccalaureate must be completed over the previous five years. All CEUs or college course work must directly apply to the specialty area for which applied. Effective Feb. 2010.

February 2009
Board approved the CFCN Handbook for Recertification by Professional Growth Program (PGP portfolio).

April 2009
Board approved the Credential Review Committee Charter to stipulate any extension beyond a six-month timeframe be reviewed by the full Board.

June 2010
Board premiered the new PGP Online system. PGP Online enabled certificants to manage and submit their PGP Portfolios via browser access to a proprietary online system.

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