The Certified Ostomy Care Nurse (COCN®) is developed and maintained by the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Certification Board (WOCNCB). The COCN certification is for general practice nurses interested in moving to the specialized ostomy care field. This voluntary credential proves a nurse’s knowledge and qualifications through a rigorous and thorough examination and continuing education.
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COCN Exam Eligibility
There are two pathways to eligibility for the COCN exam. Both pathways require you to hold a current Registered Nurse (RN) license and a bachelor’s degree in any field. Additional requirements are defined below.
For this pathway, you need to have graduated from an accredited Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (WOC) Nursing Education program within the past five years. The WOC program must be accredited by the WOCN® Society and include 40 hours of didactic instruction, 40 hours of clinical patient care, and 20 hours distributed between specialty areas.
This pathway focuses on your experience in the specialty after obtaining your bachelor’s degree while practicing as an RN. This pathway requires 100 Continuing Education (CE)/Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits (50 credits per specialty) or an equivalent in college courses completed over the five years before the date of your application. Your CE/CME credits must apply directly to the COCN specialty. Additionally, you must have 3,000 patient clinical hours (1,500 clinical hours per specialty) within the previous five years, with 375 clinical hours obtained within the past year. The required clinical and education hours must be directly related to the specialties.
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COCN Exam Outline Overview
The COCN contains 120 multiple-choice questions, ten of which are unscored, and you will be given a time limit of two hours.
There are three types of questions on the exam:
- Recall (25%): Recall or recognize specific information
- Application (61%): Comprehend, relate, or apply knowledge to new or changing situations
- Analysis (14%): Analyze and synthesize information, determine solutions, or evaluate the usefulness of a solution
The exam contains three domains, divided into tasks that evaluate your knowledge and skills.
- Determine the patient’s current health and risk status through interviews, medical records, and questionnaires
- Determine the patient’s current skin and wound status by performing focused assessments
- Develop a patient-centered plan of care using health history and assessments to establish skin and wound management goals
- Use periodic assessments to evaluate the care plan and to promote optimal skin and wound management
Domain II: Intervention and Treatment (44 items)
- Implement prevention measures to promote skin health and injury prevention
- Recommend and provide interventions to promote wound management
- Recommend/perform debridement to promote wound healing
Domain III: Education and Referral (30 items)
- Instruct patients and caregivers using the individualized skin and wound care plan to prevent complications, maintain optimal health, and encourage autonomy
- Instruct healthcare clinicians and providers on skin and wound care principles and techniques, promoting optimal management and preventing complications
- Collaborate with healthcare professionals to support patient-centered care
COCN Exam Registration
Registration for the COCN exam is available only online. You must complete the application, upload the required documents, and pay the $395 registration fee. The fee is payable online via credit card or mail with a personal check or money order.
Scheduling the Exam
Scantron will email your notification of eligibility to sit for the examination once your application is approved. From your approval date, you have 12 months to complete the exam.
Exam Delivery Methods
There are two exam delivery methods: at a Scantron testing center and by a remote proctor.
Scantron Testing Facility
Scantron testing centers are located nationwide and internationally. Testing sessions are filled on a first-come, first-served basis and are based on test center availability. Tests are generally offered Monday through Friday with two sessions per day. There is an additional fee of $150 for examinations scheduled outside of the US or Canada.
Remote Proctored Exam
Live remote proctoring allows you to take the exam from the comfort of your home or office. Requirements for remote testing include a desktop or laptop computer (tablets and mobile devices are not eligible for remote proctoring), a webcam, and a microphone. Remote proctored exams are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
COCN Exam Scores
Your final results are provided immediately after the exam. You can also view your scores through the online credentialing system found on the Scantron website.
WOCNCB uses a scaled scoring method to determine the minimum passing point. Each correct answer is worth a raw point, and the raw points are totaled to determine your final scaled score.
Your score report indicates your pass or fail status, not an exact numbered score. Because it can vary from test to test, WOCNCB does not publish the required passing score.
Retaking the COCN Exams
If you need to retake the exam(s), WOCNCB offers a one-time discount of $100 (after the first retake, full fees apply). You can take the exam up to three times with a 30-day waiting period between attempts without having to reapply. However, additional attempts after the third require a new application.
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How many questions are on the exam?
There are 120 questions on the COCN certification exam.
How long is the exam?
The COCN exam is timed at two hours.
What is a passing score for the COCN certification?
Because the scoring system for the exam is scaled, there is no set passing score to obtain your COCN certification.
How much does a COCN certification cost?
The exam fee to take the COCN exam is $395.00.
CWCN®, COCN®, CCCN®, CWON®, and CWOCN® are registered trademarks of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board. Mometrix Test Preparation is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board.