The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®), united more than 3,600 pre-registered professionals from the wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) care community at WOCNext® 2020 Reimagined, the Society’s annual education and networking event that transitioned from an in-person experience to an online event this year. The Society’s first-ever, online-only annual conference was held on June 5-7, 2020, with the theme Revitalize. Recharge. Realign.
A record number of attendees, including members and non-members, gathered online over the weekend to exercise their dedication to advancing the practice and delivery of expert healthcare to individuals with wound, ostomy, and continence care needs. Attendees were met with valuable education, inspiring speakers, advanced product knowledge, and peer networking and support.
WOCNext® 2020 Reimagined was held at a significant time in the world’s history. Organizations of all kinds were challenged to innovate and find creative ways to overcome the impacts of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), while also taking action to address the continued struggle for social justice and a truly equitable society. The Society’s Board of Directors, National Conference Planning Committee (NCPC), and staff leveraged WOCNext® 2020 Reimagined as a platform to address these important and timely issues with attendees.
Remarks from Stephanie Yates, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, CWOCN, President of WOCN, recognized the impact that COVID-19 has had on members and discussed initiatives that the Society took, and will continue to take, to provide support and aid in recovery. “Whether you found your professional responsibilities sharply increased as you provided first line care or saw your hours suddenly decrease, we heard you and we took action,” said Yates. “We created a COVID-19 forum…we developed two Clinical Practice Alerts…we also collated information and tools related to COVID-19 and the WOC practice.” The Society is continuing to collect and respond to feedback from members and create and rollout tools aimed at lifting the physical, emotional, and financial burdens that the pandemic has placed upon clinicians, families, and the entire country.
In addition to the Society’s response to the impacts of the pandemic, Sunniva Zaratkiewicz, PhD, RN, CWCN, Chair of the National Conference Planning Committee for WOCN, lead event attendees in a moment of silence honoring the lives of those lost and the continued struggle for social justice. On behalf of the Society, Zaratkiewicz commented, “We unwaveringly stand together with those who are nonviolently working to end institutional racism and create a truly anti-racist society, both in word and action.”
The Society and its members uphold the highest professional standards of ethical practice, which include providing needed services to persons regardless of age, nationality, race, creed, color, status, sex or sexual preferences, or religion; practicing with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person; and collaborating with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.
“The Society and its members have always adhered to standards of ethical practice, and now more than ever, we expect our community to treat everyone equitably,” said Yates. “By exercising awareness, education, and advocacy, and by acting with a personal sense of duty, we can, as a community, help bring resolve and eventual healing to these longstanding injustices.”
Beyond these important discussions, WOCNext® 2020 Reimagined provided attendees with an experience aimed to renew their professional and personal well-being. Session topics included wellness, symptom science, quality, and clinical care innovations, which were underscored by an inspiring keynote address by renowned wellness speaker, author, and coach, Angela Gaffney, CHC.
The event featured 70+ exhibitors, 100+ ePosters, 40+ sessions, 50+ speakers, and 2 ½ days of online education and networking. It has been deemed a “seamless and powerful demonstration of community” by Society leadership and attendees.
Those who pre-registered for the event can access the content until June 23, 2020. Attendees should also save the date for WOCNext® 2021, which will resume as an in-person event and will be held on June 27-30, 2021, in Orlando, Florida.