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“Offered by the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the certification credential is part of a respected national certification program. The program is developed by Canadian nurses for Canadian nurses.”

The certification credential WOCC(C) or Wound, Ostomy and Continence Certified (Canada), is an important indicator to patients, employers, the public and professional licensing bodies that the certified nurse is qualified, competent and current in a nursing specialty/area of nursing practice. Certified nurses have met rigorous requirements to achieve this expert credential.


The first certification exam, offered in 1991, was in neuroscience nursing. Today, more than 16,000 nurses are CNA certified (see breakdown by specialty and province/territory).

Certified nurses are…

  • Recognized nationally for their practice excellence and commitment to lifelong learning
  • Valued by employers, because their certification demonstrates specialized knowledge and brings many benefits to organizations
  • Viewed as having enhanced professional credibility

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CNA certification is a nationally recognized nursing specialty credential for nurses.

To become certified, you must pass a rigorous computer-based exam. There are two exam windows annually (see important dates). Your exam preparation will be unique, depending on what you already know in your specialty. CNA offers many exam preparation resources, as do many nursing specialty associations.

If you become certified, your credential will be valid for a five-year term. At the end of five years, you can renew by submitting a record of continuous learning hours or rewriting the exam.

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Before you apply

Please note that you will need the following:

  • Your registered nurse, nurse practitioner, registered psychiatric or licensed/registered practical nurse licence number
  • The name, contact information and email address of your endorser (for example, a supervisor or manager)
  • If applying for wound, ostomy and continence certification, electronic proof of completion of a full scope wound, ostomy and continence nursing education program recognized by NSWOCC
  • A credit card (MasterCard or Visa)

When you are ready to apply

You can apply for initial certification via MyCNA during the two application windows. Read our important dates.

How to apply and check the status of your application

  1. Log in to MyCNA (create an account if you do not have one).
  2. Click My Certification on the left menu.
  3. Click Initial Exam Application.
  4. Complete the application.
  5. Check the status of your application and perform other functions on MyCNA by scrolling down to the My Applications section.

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Our prep course includes:

  • Review of NSWOC Core Competencies
  • Review of relevant wound, ostomy, and continence curriculum
  • Example study schedule and study guide
  • Sample exam questions linked to core competencies
  • Dedicated Facebook page for exam prep support administered by an experienced and certified NSWOC
  • Contact with others preparing to write the NSWOC CNA certification exam to form support and study groups

Access the CNA Certification Prep course by logging into the Members-Only area here: 


Canadian Nurses Association
50 Driveway
Ottawa, ON K2P 1E2
Telephone: 613-237-2133 or 1-800-361-8404
Fax: 613-237-3520
For payments, please use our secure fax line at 613-288-5205.

Office hours: Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. ET

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