The Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden will receive accreditation for its Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Education Program (WOCNEP), one of only three graduate level specialty nursing certificates in the country.
The Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society Board of Directors voted earlier this month to approve its accreditation committee’s recommendation to grant a seven-year accreditation to the Rutgers–Camden program pending final reports. The program will be listed along with all other WOCN-accredited educational programs on wocn.org.
“The accreditation process is really valuable since it gives program designers the opportunity to have their educational creation assessed and validated for excellence,” says Janice Beitz, a professor of nursing and Rutgers–Camden WOCNEP director.
The 14-credit program, which began in the fall 2013 semester, is open to registered nurses with a bachelor’s degree and a minimum of one year of clinical nursing experience following licensure. Once certified, these nurses provide acute and rehabilitative care for patients with wound, ostomy, and continence care needs in multiple healthcare settings, including inpatient, outpatient, long-term, and home health care. The program also prepares students to sit for the national certification exam in wound ostomy continence nursing.
It is estimated that between 500,000 and 800,000 Americans are living with an ostomy due to gastrointestinal, genitourinary, and integumentary disorders.
“There is an enormous need right now for wound, ostomy, and continence nursing due to the aging population and chronic illness,” Beitz says. “You have to have expert care when it comes to these issues. Patients require expert care both in the hospital and at home.”
To earn accreditation, program faculty must write an extensive self-study document, and then two site visitors come to campus personally to assess how the program “measures up” compared to what the self-study writers said about themselves, Beitz says.
“The whole accreditation process really helps with program excellence and need for further revision,” she notes.
The Rutgers–Camden WOCNEP was called a “rigorous, well designed specialty nursing program that also assists entry into advanced practice nursing,” according to the accreditation report.
The first cohort of six students in the Rutgers–Camden program is currently working toward completing the clinical component of the WOCNEP. Following completion of the clinical portion, the accreditation will officially be granted, Beitz says.
For more information on the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden Would Ostomy Continence Education Program, visit nursing.camden.rutgers.edu/academics/woc-program.