top of page

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 SmithRN, BScN, NSWOC

Bev Smith was born and raised in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia where her Indigenous Ancestors from the Miꞌkmaq First Nations of Potlotek, Cape Breton settled in the early 1900’s.

After graduating high school, Bev moved to Edmonton and completed her BScN at the University of Alberta. After working in acute care for several years, an opportunity to work alongside the hospital’s only NSWOC presented itself and Bev was excited to take on the new challenge.

Bev enrolled in the then CAET wound, ostomy and continence education program and graduated a Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence (NSWOC) in 2008. Bev has been working as a community NSWOC for assisted living in Edmonton since graduating from the program and enjoys preceptoring and mentoring new NSWOC students. Bev became the Indigenous Core Program Leader for NSWOCC in October 2018 and has since co-published an article related to improving wound, ostomy and continence care for Indigenous Canadians for the JWOCN.

In her spare time Bev loves coaching soccer, volunteering in her local community of Beaumont Alberta and spending time with her husband, four children and two grandchildren.


Michelle Buffalo RN, BScN, NSWOC, WOCC(C)

Michelle grew up in rural northern British Columbia on a large cattle farm & farming community. She moved to Alberta in 2001. She is proud to be both a Cree First Nations woman uniquely mixed with Norwegian and Latvian ancestry. She is a Samson Cree Nation band member, which is one of the four large First Nations Communities in Maskwacis, Alberta, a treaty 6 First Nations territory and also the community in which her late mother grew up.

Her first role in healthcare was as a nursing attendant. Several years later she decided to follow her feather and transitioned to a Registered Nurse, graduating with a BScN from the University of Alberta in 2010.

Her nursing background and experience includes working in a variety of settings such as rural nursing, emergency, geriatrics and medical/surgical areas. She has worked in case management for Maskwacis Health Services Home Care in Alberta and was also the Indigenous RN Case Manager for the Awasisak Indigenous Health Team at The Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, AB.  Transitioning into the Acute RN Case Manager & Direct Care Team Lead role for Alberta Health Service's Home Care program in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. She has also worked as a relief nurse in Manitoba at a remote Indigenous nursing station for a short time.
Currently, she is with the Central Zone Wound & Ostomy Consult Team for Alberta Health Service’s Ostomy & Wound Specialists Department. Working alongside other NSWOC colleagues, providing the much-needed specialized service to multiple sites in rural Alberta. 


Michelle has had the opportunity to work in many different settings and connect with clients from various backgrounds, journeys and cultures. This is something she is very grateful for as it brings such valuable understanding to her nursing experience and growth as a person.

She graduated from the NSWOC Program in May 2021 and officially obtained her CNA Certification in WOCC(C) soon after. This incredible journey began with the starting support from her late mother and continued with the many supportive nursing mentors she has had the opportunity to cross paths with along the way.

She is honored to be an active member of the NSWOCC Indigenous Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Health Core Program, a program that continues to make changes that impact and improve the health and lives of Indigenous peoples across Canada.


bottom of page