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continence, nursing, ostomy, outcomes, quality of life, specialization, value, WOC, wound care



  1. Heerschap, Corey MScCH (WPC), BScN, RN, NSWOC, WOCC(C), IIWCC
  2. Duff, Victoria BScN


OBJECTIVE: To critically appraise peer-reviewed evidence concerning the value, or implied sense of worth or benefit, of nurses specialized in wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) care.


DATA SOURCES: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analyses was used to systematically review current literature in a single database from 2009 to the date of search (July 2019).


STUDY SELECTION: The initial search retrieved 2,340 elements; 10 studies were retained following removal of duplicate records, title and abstract reviews, and application of the inclusion/exclusion criteria.


DATA EXTRACTION: Literature was graded and critiqued with regard to design and research quality and then synthesized using a narrative approach.


DATA SYNTHESIS: Nine values that WOC nurses demonstrate were identified: improved quality of life for patients, teaching and mentoring, cost reduction, improved efficiency, improved wound outcomes, improved incontinence outcomes, advanced treatments, research, and leadership.


CONCLUSIONS: Although current studies suggest that there is value in the WOC nurse role, in all areas of the trispecialty, there is a need for high-quality literature with higher-level designs focused on bias reduction.