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NSWOCC Indigenous Wound, Ostomy and Continence Health

About the Core Program

The Indigenous Wound, Ostomy and Continence Health Core Program brings together Nurses Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC®), Skin Wellness Associate Nurses (SWAN™) and key healthcare stakeholders working with Indigenous people who collaborate to identify key issues in the care delivery of wound, ostomy and continence for indigenous, including Inuit and Metis, people. By identifying key issues, this core program makes critical connections at the Federal and Provincial Government levels in order to raise awareness, address issues and improve patient outcomes.


  • Establish and maintain a  committee with NSWOC® and SWAN™ representation and aligned key stakeholders who care for Indigenous people from all provinces and territories - include at least one indigenous patient and one pharmacists dealing with non-insured health benefits (15 to 20 committee members)

  • Attend monthly electronic meetings to engage and have meaningful discussions

  • Conduct annual Strengths, Opportunities, Aspirations and Results (SOAR) Analysis to identify issues and gaps

  • Develop strategies to address issues/gaps that have been identified

  • Build relationships with key Federal and Provincial Government authorities involved with Indigenous Health

  • Hold annual educational webinars to raise awareness around the need for equity in healthcare

  • Participate in a presentation at the NSWOCC National Conference in order to educate healthcare professionals on wound, ostomy and continence  care delivery for Indigenous people

  • Develop and maintain a website to communicate wound, ostomy and continence  information that will help to meet the needs of Indigenous people

  • Engage in research projects to improve the health of Indigenous people

The story behind our logo


A Story of healing

By Thomas H. Anderson

INSWOCC Logo.png

There comes a time in one’s life where we face a sickness, be it minor or great. This is one of the times in life where family shines through.


In this piece, it was my mission to portray family in a way that has been understood by many cultures around the world. I brought this concept to the greatest scope that I can, and that is by bringing this thought of family to the universe itself. As we all live within this world as a collective whole, a family in its own right. It is important to remember the ties to the great celestial aspects, just as we remember family members. Each member plays a role in the family, and the universe is just the same. My Haudenosaunee heritage brought me a greater understanding of how family works, that not only this structure is how organisms live together but it goes farther beyond to a cosmic level.


The Sun, the Elder Brother or Great Warrior, to the Haudenosaunee people is the male aspect. It has earned the title of Great Warrior by how it conducts its daily duties without fail and that the men are to follow by its example. The Sun being an intense and powerful being is to embody the virtues of a great protector, as the men are the protectors of the family. The Sun works hand in hand with the land, our mother who rests on turtle island to nurture everything

that lives. The men are to provide to their families in the same manner, with the female aspect as an equal.


The Moon, our Grandmother, is the female aspect of our greater family. It embodies the soothing and graceful virtues that women carry within families. The Haudenosaunee compare the women to the Moon as they both have their cycles that represent the flow of life. Water is under great influence of the Moon, be it great or small, all water flows by how it moves. Women allow life to move in just the same way, as they are the givers of life. The women carry this great power and this power is closely related to the energy of creation.

The Great energy of creation, there is a word in our language that loosely translates into “The primordial energy that makes up everything”. That is the best way that I can bring the word into English. There is very little understanding at this time of how we truly understood it but its evidence can be seen all around us. This energy flows like air, water, and fire. The circle representation of the greater whole represents how this energy binds all things.


This energy binds us as an invisible force, as families are bound by an invisible force but it is well known as Love to us in this world. We are all bound together with this power and I want to bring this to the beginning knowing all that I understand.


Our own self, as an organism is a family in of itself. Our organs are all connected in the same way. They all perform their duties to keep the whole moving but there will be times where sickness will disrupt this flow. This is the time when love and care need to come to this area of sickness, the very things that bind everything together need to come and remind the organ of the flow and harmony. Love is the greatest medicine of all, and it can work in miraculous ways. Knowing all this, we can go even smaller down to the very cells and it will still show the same

relationship all the way down.


Remember all that is around you and what binds us all together as one, for we all are in this together. No matter what race, nationality, and even species. We must all keep love in our hearts for ourselves and each other. Love is the greatest force in the universe and so, it is the greatest medicine that it can offer. My best wishes to you and your families, as we are all one family.

Our Story



Bev Smith RN, BScN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

Bev is originally from Nova Scotia and is very proud of her Mi’kmaq heritage and her ancestors who called Potlotek First Nations their home. Bev left Nova Scotia in 1997 to attend the University of Alberta where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Bev ended up staying in Alberta and worked for several years in acute care on medicine and on day surgery units.

Bev worked closely with the hospital’s ET nurse and quickly knew that this was her passion so she enrolled and graduated from the CAET- ET program in 2008. Bev accepted an ET position in Edmonton Continuing Care, where she has been practicing now for the past 15 years. In 2018, Bev was given the amazing opportunity to become the NSWOCC Core Program Leader for Indigenous Wound, Ostomy and Continence Health, which she eagerly accepted. Bev loves working with this amazing group of passionate individuals from across Canada who strive to improve the wound, ostomy and continence health for all Indigenous peoples.

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