Credential Review and Appeals
The WOCNCB is a nonprofit organization which provides board certification and recertification for wound, ostomy, continence and foot care nurses. The members of the WOCNCB comprise a diverse group of experts representing all the specialties in which they certify individuals. The Board is national in scope and blends academic and clinical practice for the purpose of establishing excellence in the profession of wound, ostomy, continence and foot care nursing through development, maintenance, and protection of the certification process.
Certification is offered to the bachelor's prepared and advanced practice level nurses who exhibit high standards of practice. It is the aim of the WOCNCB to be inclusive and not restrictive to any adequately prepared applicant for certification. Maintenance of board certification will require independent effort to meet the every 5-year requirements of the chosen track for certification and the maintenance of nursing licensure. Individuals who fail to meet these requirements will not have their certification renewed. Individuals who misrepresent or commit fraud with regard to any of the WOCNCB's Credentials may have their certification suspended or revoked. The WOCNCB does not guarantee job performance of any individual.
Maintenance of Professional Licensure
As part of any code of nursing professional practice, it is expected that there will be no lapse of professional licensure during the five-year certification period. Any appearance of licensure revocation, including those due to any misdemeanor or felony charges, will immediately be reported to the WOCNCB resulting in the revocation of certification. Reapplication for certification will be considered on an individual basis following reinstatement of RN licensure by the appropriate State Board of Nursing. Proof of a current RN license must accompany all applications.
Purpose of the Credential Review and Appeals Committee
- The Credentialing Review and Appeals Committee shall conduct structured investigations of all formal notifications presented to the WOCNCB office of credentialing violations and any applicant contesting an adverse decision affecting his/her certification eligibility or status. The committee will also review requests for extension of credentials, late PGP portfolio submissions and other special requests/circumstance according to WOCNCB policies.
- The committee will be comprised of a WOCNCB member as Chair, the PGP Committe Chair, the WOCNCB Public Member, Examination Committee members, and certified members of the certificant group.
- In administering the WOCNCB handling of the Formal Review process, the Credential Review and Appeals Committee must exist as an impartial review body with confidentiality for the individual case review in mind. Committee action shall be determined by majority vote.
Review and Appeals Procedure
An appeal policy and procedure is available to any Applicant or Certificant who has applied for WOCNCB certification/recertification and wishes to contest any adverse decision affecting his/her certification/recertification status or eligibility. Any individual who does not file a request for an appeal within the required time limit shall waive the right to appeal.
Request for an appeal on the decision of certification/recertification status or eligibility
1. Review of Eligibility Decisions. In the event of a determination that an individual has been denied certification or recertification, based on a failure to satisfy application or eligibility requirements, pay fees required by WOCNCB, a change in certification status, or failure of the examination, the individual shall have thirty (30) days to file a written request for review.
2. Appeals process. The individual may file a written appeal request to the WOCNCB office within thirty (30) days of the date of their receipt of the determination in the above instances. Once the request is received, it will be reviewed by the Credentialing and Review and Appeals Committee whereby, a vote will take place to determine if the certification/recertification or eligibility decision will be upheld or reversed. If the certification/recertification or eligibility decision is reversed, the Credentialing and Review and Appeals Committee will determine the terms and issue a decision in writing, on the request.
Submission of Formal Report Forms
When the WOCNCB becomes aware of an incident that may fall into one of the proceeding categories, the WOCNCB begins a structured investigation to determine whether or not any disciplinary action will be taken.
The review process is designed to give the individual alleged to have committed a violation of WOCNCB policies a fair opportunity to refute the allegation and/or explain the situation fully before any action is taken by the committee. In each instance which comes to the Credentialing Review and Appeals Committee's attention, the following steps are taken to quickly complete the investigation and resolve the complaints:
- Investigation Notice: The Credential Review and Appeals Committee Chair will respond to the initial complaint by providing written notice of the potential problem to the individual, or the "charged party." The individual will be given an opportunity to respond in writing to clarify the matter or provide other pertinent information.
- Hearing Decision: Based upon the individual's response to the Chair's inquiry about the complaint, the committee will meet by conference call or electronic communication [e-mail] to determine a) if the complaint has merit and b) if it falls within the scope of the committee's responsibilities. The committee will then determine if an official hearing, in which testimony may be presented by the charged party and others, will be conducted. If the decision is that a hearing is unwarranted, the complaint is dropped and the individual is notified that no action will be taken by the WOCNCB. Complaints which appear to fit the scope of the committee's responsibilities may be sent to:
WOCNCB Credential Review and Appeals Committee
555 East Wells St., Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202
Only signed, written complaints will be considered. Anonymous correspondence will not be acted upon. The WOCNCB will protect the confidentiality of those who provide information to every possible extent. However, the WOCNCB will become involved only in matters that can be factually determined, while providing the charged party with every opportunity to respond in a professional and legally defensible atmosphere.
- Hearing Notice/Information Gathering: If the complaint appears to have merit and is within the purview of the committee, the charged party will be notified by certified mail that a formal hearing will be conducted via a conference call, teleconference or face-to-face meeting. The specific alleged violation will be identified and the charged party will be given 30 days in which to provide information to the committee regarding the complaint. The charged party may decline to participate in the hearing. At the same time, the WOCNCB may contact other individuals about the matter and develop other facts that may help the committee decide if a violation of WOCNCB policies has occurred. The individual will have the right to review information gathered as well as to be personally present and/or represented by legal counsel at the formal hearing. All travel expenses for the charged individual and his/her attorney will be the responsibility of that individual. The WOCNCB also has the right to have legal counsel present during the hearing.
- Formal Hearing: All of the information gathered during the investigation or provided by the charged party will be reviewed by the committee. Any personal testimony from the individual or other witnesses will be taken during the hearing, and a transcribed record of the proceedings will be made.
- Case Decision: Based on the record of the hearing, including all information submitted by the charged party, the Credential Review and Appeals Committee will determine if the individual has violated WOCNCB policies and, if so, what disciplinary action the WOCNCB will take. Written notice of the committee's decision is provided to the individual by certified mail.
If the Credential Review and Appeals Committee determines the individual is not in violation of WOCNCB policies:
- The charged party will be notified by certified mail and no further action will take place.
If the Credential Review and Appeals Committee determines the individual is in violation of WOCNCB policies:
- The charged party will be notified by certified mail of the decision and shall have the opportunity to appeal (see below for Appeal process)
- Unless the charged party appeals the committee's decision, his/her credential shall be revoked for a minimum of two years, with the committee determining the length of time the credential will be in revocation. During the revocation period the individual may not apply for any of the WOCNCB's credentials
- Unless the charged party appeals the decision, the committee shall determine if the charged party's employer should receive notification of the credential revocation
- Appeal: Upon receipt of the notice of the Credential Review and Appeals Committee's decision, the charged party has 30 days to file a written appeal of the decision to the WOCNCB. When an appeal is made, the voting members of the Board, minus the Credential Review and Appeals Committee Chair and the Public Member, review the record of the case and determine whether to affirm or modify the committee's decision. It is the responsibility of the individual charged with the policy violation to initiate the appeal process.
- If the voting members of the Board, minus the Credential Review and Appeals Committee Chair, disagree with the committee's ruling to revoke the credential:
- The charged party will be notified by certified mail and no further action will take place.
If the voting members of the Board, minus the Credential Review and Appeals Committee Chair, agree with the committee's ruling to revoke the credential:
- The charged party will be notified by certified mail of the decision.
- The charged party's credential shall be revoked for a minimum of two years, with the committee determining the length of time the credential will be in revocation. During the revocation period the individual may not apply for any of the WOCNCB's credentials.
- The committee shall determine if the charged party's employer should receive notification of the credential revocation.
- Possible outcomes:
- If the charged individual is found not to be in violation of WOCNCB policies, then no further action is required. The individual will be notified by certified mail.
- If the individual is found to be in violation of WOCNCB policies, his/her credential and/or eligibility for certification will be revoked for minimum of two years. The period of revocation will be determined by the Credentialing Review and Appeals Committee.
To protect the validity of WOCNCB credentials, WOCNCB depends upon WOCNCB certificants, members of the WOCN® Society, employers and the public to report incidents that may require action by the Credential Review and Appeals Committee. Click here to submit a formal complaint.