Ostomy Management Specialist® Certification

Ostomy Certification

Ostomy Management Specialist

The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy® (NAWCO®) is very proud to offer the first multi-specialty Ostomy Management Specialist® Certification in the United States. The OMS is our fourth certification program. We believe our thousands of WCCs and other certificants who work with ostomy patients, or are considering ostomy as a career direction, will greatly benefit from the new Ostomy Management Specialist (OMS) program. To meet the need for specialized clinicians dedicated to the treatment and prevention of ostomy and stoma complications, the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy (NAWCO) is sponsoring the Ostomy Management Specialist Certification (OMS).

The Facts:

Ostomy Certification

  • Annually, there are 120,000 ostomy surgeries in the United States.1
  • Complications following ostomy surgeries are a significant problem for many individuals.*
  • Studies show that up to 71% of patients with an ileostomy experience complications as do 43% of those with a colostomy.2

Post-operatively, patients will often report a loss of confidence, independence, and dignity, as well as fears of rejection and ridicule.3

Additional research shows that successful adjustment to a colostomy and improved quality of life is most likely to occur if instruction in self-care and appropriate psychological support is given by a specialized stoma/ostomy clinician. 4,5

Professional Designation

Upon successful completion of the Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Examination, candidates may use the initials OMS, Ostomy Management Specialist, to designate their status. Credentials are awarded for a five (5) year period following obtaining a passing score on the examination.

Eligibility Requirements

The OMS certification is designed and intended solely for licensed health care professionals. Applicants for the NAWCO OMS certification must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Active unrestricted license as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Physician or Physician Assistant.
  2. Have practiced the equivalent of 1 year full-time in the past five years as a Registered Nurse, Licensed Practical/Vocational Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Physical Therapist, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapist, Physician or Physician Assistant.
  3. Completion of application and required supporting documentation.
  4. Payment of required fees.
  5. Successful graduate of NAWCO approved “Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Training Course”.
  6. Receive passing score on the NAWCO OMS Examination.

Approved NAWCO Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Training Course

Wound Care Education Institute

Wound Care Education Institute

WCEI offers the Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Training Course on multiple dates and at various locations all around the United States. For detailed listings and application, visit www.wcei.net.


Upon successful completion of the Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Examination, candidates may use the initials OMS, Ostomy Management Specialist, to designate their status. Credentials are awarded for a five (5) year period following obtaining a passing score on the examination.

Upon expiration of credentialing term, OMSs are required to re-certify with the NAWCO to maintain their credentials.

Certificate of Certification

The NAWCO will award an official numbered certificate to all candidates upon passing the NAWCO Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Examination, denoting status as OMS, Ostomy Management Specialist.

Credential Verification

To ensure public safety and ethical practices, the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy provides credential verification. Interested parties, including the general public, can verify OMS credentials using the credential verification search feature located at www.nawccb.org or contact the NAWCO directly by phone at 877-922-6292.

Examination Administration

Paper and pencil examination will be offered onsite following the OMS Certification Training courses.

The OMS examination is also offered at computer based testing facilities managed by PSI Services, LLC. PSI has testing sites in the United States and other countries.

Content of Examination

The Ostomy Management Specialist Certification examination is an objective, multiple choice test consisting of up to 110 questions with a total testing time of two (2) hours.

The questions for the Ostomy Management Certification examination are prepared by teams of Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). The examination questions are written to assess cognitive levels of knowledge, comprehension, application and analysis related to ostomy management.

Examination Content Outline

  1. Anatomy/Physiology
    1. Gastrointestinal (GI) system
    2. Genitourinary (GU) system
  2. Principles of Wound Healing – Partial/Full Thickness healing, Types wound closure, Moist wound healing, Systemic factors that influence healing.
  3. Treatment and management of Conditions/Etiologies/Indications for Fecal or Urinary Diversion Surgery – Bowel obstruction, Inflammatory bowel disease -Ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, Gastrointestinal cancers, acute diverticulitis, Bladder cancer, Interstitial cystitis, Neurogenic bladder and Refractory radiation cystitis; Pediatric conditions – Hirschsprung’s disease, Imperforate anus, Necrotizing enterocolitis, Malrotation with midgut volvulus, Meconium ileus, Intussusceptions, Cloacal exstrophy, Intestinal atresias, Intestinal pseudo-obstruction and Intestinal transplant.
  4. Assessment, treatment and management of:
    1. Gastrointestinal Ostomies – Colostomy, Ascending colostomy, Cecostomy, Transverse colostomy , Descending colostomy, Ileostomy, Brooke ileostomy.
    2. Gastrointestinal continent diversions – Kock pouch, Ileoanal reservoir, Continent colostomy.
    3. Urinary ostomies- Urostomy, Ileal conduit, Colon conduit , Uretero-sigmoidostomy , Jejunum conduit
    4. Incontinent urinary diversions- Ureterostomy, Vesicostomy
    5. Continent urinary diversions- Indiana pouch, Mitrofanoff continent urinary diversion and Neo-bladder.
    6. Fistulas
  5. Patient Education
    1. Teaching plan specific patient needs and concerns: age, self care ability, pre-surgical life style, barriers to learning, patient’s support system, dietary habits, physical habits, financial resources, receptiveness to education, social and coping skills, psychosocial development, environmental challenges.
    2. Post-operative teaching and counseling: Apply, manipulate, empty, and remove pouching system; stoma care, bathing, clothing, activity restrictions, medication influence, dietary considerations, peristomal skin care, complications to report, sexual counseling, colostomy irrigation and discharge resources.
  6. Assessment and management Peristomal complications: Peristomal hernia, Peristomal fistula, Peristomal candidiasis, Folliculitis. Pseudo-verrucous lesions, pyoderma gangrenosum, Suture granulomas, irritant contact dermatitis, allergic contact dermatitis, skin trauma, Carcinoma of the peristomal skin, Pemphigus, Psoriasis and Alkaline encrustations.
  7. Assessment and management of stoma and stomal complications: categories, types, clinical characteristics, peristomal hernia, stoma prolapse, stoma necrosis, stoma stenosis, stoma retraction, mucocutaneous separation, stomal varices, stoma fistula and stoma trauma.
  8. Assessment, management, and modifications for appliances and pouching products including: One-piece or two-piece systems, systems for fecal or urinary diversions, flexible or rigid skin barriers, flat or convex skin barriers, and pouching accessories.
  9. Psychosocial Effects of Fecal and Urinary Diversion Surgery – Phases of adjustment, quality of life, self esteem, body image, relationships, spiritual, cultural, and ethnic considerations; health care professional’s role and responsibilities.
  10. Procedures and techniques: Containment of stoma effluent, Colostomy irrigation, catheterization of an ileal conduit, food blockage, ileostomy lavage, medication administration drug absorption, pouching fistulas, stoma site marking; tube management – nasogastric tubes, nephrostomy tubes, long intestinal tubes, biliary tubes and tracheostomy tubes.

Examination Results

Candidates who take the paper and pencil exam following the course will receive their exam results by email within 7-10 business days following the examination. Candidates will receive their results immediately following the completion of the computerized examination. Exam results will indicate either “pass” or “fail”.  No candidate exam results will be given by telephone or facsimile for any reason.

Review of Examinations

Doctor and nurse

For security reasons, examination materials are not available for review. Neither the testing corporation nor the NAWCO will discuss specific questions on any of the examinations. Comments about questions should be directed in writing to the NAWCO Certification Committee. The NAWCO will review comments relating to the exam but will not make a written response to comments.

Candidates who believe their examination results were improperly recorded or their examination graded inaccurately may request that their examination be hand scored. To request examination hand scoring, candidates should complete a signature form available from the NAWCO website or click here. This request must be postmarked no later than 100 days after the test administration date.

Examination Disclosure

The examination questions remain solely the property of the NAWCO. These materials are confidential and are not to be shared with any person or agency for any reason.

Retesting Policy

If you are unsuccessful in passing the examination, you will receive instructions and a re-examination application by mail from the National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy.

Candidates who take the Ostomy Management Specialist Certification Examination and are unsuccessful may retake the examination for a total of three (3) additional re-examination attempts within two (2) years of the first examination date. After four (4) attempts within two years, you would be required to wait for a period of one (1) year prior to taking the exam again.

Candidates who allow the two (2) year time limit to expire, but who do not exhaust the four (4) exam attempts, are not required to wait one (1) year prior to reapplying to take the exam again. However, all unsuccessful candidates must meet all eligibility requirements under one of the existing certification pathways in order to retake the examination. Candidates are encouraged to self-study or attend an ostomy management training course during this time. Unsuccessful candidates are not eligible for any refunds.

Re-examination Application

  1. The NAWCO is notified by the testing company of all non-passing scores.
  2. The National Alliance of Wound Care and Ostomy will contact you by email with instructions and an application for re-examination.
  3. Each re-examination application submitted must be accompanied by $330 fee.
  4. Re-examination application forms should be submitted at least one month prior to requested examination date.

Computer Examination Procedures

Scheduling Your Examination Appointment: The NAWCO will send you a notice of eligibility once you are approved for the exam. Following that, you will receive an email from PSI Services, LLC with instructions on scheduling your examination on the PSI Services, LLC website.

A listing of available testing centers with detailed maps may be viewed at www.psiexams.com.

  1. Make note of your unique NAWCO eligibility authorization number that will be included with your NAWCO notice of eligibility email. Without this number.
  2. To gain admission to the testing center:
  • Present a current US Government issued photo ID that includes your current name and signature.
  • Acceptable IDs include: driver’s license, valid passport, military ID card with photo, state issued photo ID.
  • Unacceptable ID’s include employment ID, student ID, etc.
Accommodation Procedures: An applicant may request special accommodations related to an ADA disability. Please contact the NAWCO directly for information.

Reschedule of Examination Appointments

If you need to cancel your examination appointment or reschedule to a different date, you must contact PSI at (800) 211-2754 no later than 48 hours prior to your scheduled time. If your appointment falls either on a Monday or the day after a holiday, you must call the last business day prior to your appointment to reschedule. If you fail to arrive for your appointment or cancel without giving the required notice, you will be subject to forfeiture of your testing fee.


NAWCO and PSI maintain test administration and test security standards that are designed to assure that all candidates are provided the same opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. The assessment center is continuously monitored by surveillance equipment for security purposes.

Practice Test

Prior to attempting the examination, you will be given the opportunity to practice taking a test on the computer. The time you use for this practice test is NOT counted as part of your examination time. When you are comfortable with the computer testing process, you may quit the practice session and begin the timed examination.

Timed Examination

Following the practice test, you will begin the actual examination. Before beginning, instructions for taking the examination are provided on-screen. Two (2) hours are allotted to complete the examination.

Examination Results

Your exam results will indicate “Pass” or “Fail“.

Official results are reported in electronic form only through our online examination results process. Results are not reported over the telephone or by facsimile. Candidates taking the computerized version of the examination will receive their results immediately following the completion of the exam

Revocation of Certification

NAWCO® may revoke individual OMS Certification upon the occurrence of any one or more of the following events:

  1. Applicant fails to adhere to the NAWCO code of ethics. (located at www.nawccb.org)
  2. Any Government agency, licensing board or court finds that any services as provided by OMS are defective or improper in any way, manner or form.
  3. Use of certification credentials subsequent to revocation, suspension, probation, or expiration of OMS’s primary professional license.
  4. Applicant fails to meet recertification criteria prior to expiration date of their OMS credentials.
  5. Falsification of application materials.
  6. Actual or potential adverse publicity, false advertising or other information, emanating from a third party or parties, about Applicant, the services provided by Applicant, or the use of the Marks by Applicant causes NAWCO, in its sole judgment, to believe that NAWCOs reputation will be adversely affected.

References for Study

ASCRS and WOCN joint position statement on the value of preoperative stoma marking for patients undergoing fecal ostomy surgery. J Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing 2007; 34(6): 627-628.

American Cancer Society. Ileostomy: A Guide.2011.

American Cancer Society. Urostomy: A Guide.2011.

Charter of Ostomates Rights. United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc., Website.  Published 2004.

Fecal & Urinary Diversions: Management Principles. Janice ColwellMargaret T. GoldbergJane Carmel St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2004.

Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). Ostomy care and management. Toronto (ON): Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO); 2009 Aug. 115 p.

United Ostomy Associations of America, Ostomy Information and Care Guides.

Wound Ostomy and Continence Nursing Secrets, Milne, C.T. and Corbett, L.Q. and Dubuc, D.L. Philadelphia, PA, 2003, Hanley & Belfus, Inc.

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN). Management of the patient with a fecal ostomy: best practice guideline for clinicians. Mount Laurel (NJ): Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN); 2010.