Ostomy Management Specialist® – Frequently Asked Questions

Question:

What is the OMS Certification?

Answer:

The OMS (Ostomy Management Specialist®) certification is the title used to designate that a dedicated health care provider has completed all requirements, educational and/or experiential, to obtain this highly specialized certification for all patients requiring a fecal or urinary diversion.

Question:

Why is OMS certification important?

Answer:

Certification of an Ostomy Management Specialist (OMS) provides assurance to the public that the health care practitioner to provide the delivery of safe and effective ostomy and skin management. The certification provides recognition that the individual has demonstrated a standard level of knowledge and proficiency in knowledge, skills and expertise in ostomy treatment, therapy, and management.

Question:

Why do I need to become certified?

Answer:

The OMS certification makes a statement regarding your professional skill set to patients, colleagues and employers. By meeting the requirements of certification, you have elevated your professional scope of practice that establishes that you have additional education and competencies within your specified licensure of record and practice. Most of all, this certification will ensure that you have the knowledge and skills to care for an underserved patient population, the ostomy patient.

Question:

I thought only ETs nurses manage stomas?

Answer:

Currently there are only a minimal number of volunteers and nurses that use the title “Enterostomal Therapist (ET)”. In the late 1990’s, the clinical designation of “ET” was changed to WOC nurse. You are correct, the only health care profession that manages stomas is basically nursing and all nurses are expected to care for stomas and ostomy patients as its within their scope of practice.

Question:

Are stoma cases increasing in the United States?

Answer:

Although there are not actual statistical information that there is an increase in the number of patients with stomas, it is known that there are not enough skilled health care professional nurses to provide a continuum of care for these patients and care givers including pre-operative education, post-operative training and continued counseling and support throughout the life cycle of the ostomate, or individual with a fecal or urinary diversion.

Question:

What is the difference between a CWOCN (COCN) and the OMS certification?

Answer:

Both certifications confirm that the individual certified has completed a formal ostomy educational program and successfully completed all course requirements along with passing a certification examination. The certification asserts that the individual holds the knowledge and skill set to provide quality, efficacious therapy, treatment and counseling for ostomy patients and care takers.

Being a multidisciplinary certification organization focusing on disease management, NAWCO offers the opportunity to all levels of Nurses, Physicians and Therapists to provide specialized Ostomy care within their scope of practice and across the continuum of care. The WOCNCB offers the opportunity only to RNs with a Bachelors degree or higher. As a result, there simply aren’t enough Ostomy certified professionals nationally to care for patients with ostomies.

Question:

Do I need special education to obtain the OMS certification?

Answer:

Yes. In order to take the certification examination besides being a licensed health care provider, the candidate must attend and successfully complete all sessions of the Ostomy Management course provided by the Wound Care Education Institute.

Question:

Do I need to take the approved education for the OMS before I can sit for the national examination?

Answer:

Yes. Upon successful completion of the Ostomy Management course of study, and meeting the NAWCO eligibility requirements the candidate may take the Ostomy Management Certification examination.

Question:

How can you certify different types of professionals with the same examination and credential, since they all practice at different levels?

Answer:

Successful ostomy patient education, teaching, training and management require the skills of an interdisciplinary health care team. Therefore, all members of the team should have a thorough knowledge of ostomy management including all factors of healing and self-care required for the patient to resume the “new normal” quality of life. The educational sessions are comprehensive and inclusive of physical, systemic and psychosocial factors faced by ostomates.

Question:

Do I need a bachelor’s degree to qualify for the OMS certification?

Answer:

No. Health care providers with one year of experience and an active unrestricted license may apply for the OMS certification examination. These health care professionals include: Registered Nurses, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurses, Nurse Practitioners, Physical Therapists, Physical Therapist Assistants, Occupational Therapists, Physicians and Physician Assistants

Question:

What will the OMS certification do for my career?

Answer:

In today’s health care environment, the typical patient that is hospitalized for ostomy surgery receives the most basic patient education regarding their stoma and pouching systems. Much of the post-surgical care is provided in alternative health care settings. First and foremost, you will become a very important resource for the ostomates in your community. Secondly, your services will become essential to the health care providers in your facility, institution or agency. You will be able to add a new credential to support your scope of practice as determined by each respective professional state licensing board.

The sky is your limit as far as personal career satisfaction.

Question:

I am very interested in this program, but I have not had much experience working with Ostomy patients. Can I still take the course and get certified?

Answer:

This is a comprehensive course of study that will take you from the anatomy and physiology of the systems involved in fecal and urinary diversions through the life-time of care required for the ostomy patient.

Question:

I am a good student but I do not test well. If I take the course but fail to pass the exam, may I re-take it again?

Answer:

You will be given all information you will need to pass the test. Review questions will also be provided. If you do not pass the test, you may re-test. There will be a charge for additional test sessions. (see handbook)

Question:

I want to get my certification but I worry about the expectations my facility will have of me once I get it. I can’t learn everything there is to know in one week. What type of support is available once I certify to help me manage the day to day issues that arise?

Answer:

The course will provide the latest fundamental information related to preoperative and postoperative care of an ostomate. Also, during the course you will receive information on all support organizations available. As always with any Wound Care Education Institute course, you will be able to access an ostomy certified instructor to assist with your questions. There will also be routine informational communications related to ostomy and stoma care.

Question:

I want to participate in the program, but I do not have the money to cover the program costs and travel to the class. Are there any other options for someone like me?

Answer:

Many employers provide tuition reimbursement. This may be an option. Also, if your facility provides care to ostomates, you could approach your employer with a business case for paying for your tuition and travel cost. There are also possibilities for scholarships for specialized nursing care.

Question:

Will my employer automatically pay me more if I get this certification?

Answer:

Negotiation skills will be important here. This will be up to you to leverage your increase of knowledge and certification to make more money. NAWCO will have some tools that will assist you on this topic located in their intranet site for OMS certified professionals.

Question:

Is there a practicum portion to this training? I need more hands-on learning to really incorporate what I learn into the practice setting.

Answer:

Yes. The initial web-based classes are relevant to theory while the week-long class sessions incorporate many hands-on skill laboratories. The instructors will be very interactive during these sessions. If you need additional assistance, the instructors will provide the assistance you need during these sessions.

Question:

Where are the class room sessions located?

Answer:

The course begins with eight (8) web-based learning sessions. After you complete these on-line sessions at your convenience during a 90 day period, there is a class room session that you will have to attend. The five day class room session includes, hands-on skill training and certification test will be offered at major cities across the United States. Please go to www.wcei.net for a list of the dates and locations of the scheduled courses.

Question:

What is the cost of the course?

Answer:

Please contact the Wound Care Education Institute for the cost of the training session.
Click here to go to the WCEI page.

Question:

Do I have to have ostomy experience? Because I don’t really, that’s why I need the class.

Answer:

No. This course is open to all licensed and registered health care providers such as licensed practical or vocational nurses, registered nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, physical therapist, occupational therapist and physicians. This is a comprehensive course of study that will provide both theory and hands-on skills training workshops.

Question:

What else is in the course besides ostomy? Do we talk about fistulas, g-tubes, etc?

Answer:

The course provides instructional classes and hands-on skill laboratories on fecal ostomies, urinary ostomies and fecal and urinary continent diversions, along with tube care and fistula care.

Question:

What kind of back ground do I need to have going in? I have no acute care experience.

Answer:

Acute care experience is not a requirement. The requirements are an active unrestricted health care licenses and practiced the equivalent of 1 year full-time in the past 5 years as a health care provider.

Question:

What will my credentials enable me to do that I can’t do now?

Answer:

Although most health care providers have been faced with the care of a patient with an ostomy or continent diversion at some point during their career, many do not have the expertise of a specialist. This training course and certification will prepare you for the challenging, life-time care that patient’s with fecal and urinary diversions deserves in all health care settings.