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The WOCN Society Introduces a Modernized Brand and Website During Annual Member’s Business Meeting

Posted By Kristin Petty, Thursday, July 16, 2020

The WOCN® Society Introduces a Modernized Brand and Website During Annual Member’s Business Meeting

The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society™ (WOCN®) introduced a modernized brand and new website during the Annual Member’s Business Meeting on Wednesday, July 15. 


The new brand and upcoming website intend to represent the engaging resources and powerful experience that the Society offers to members and the greater healthcare community. The modernized look, feel, and sound center around a new brand promise, The WOC Community of Opportunity™, and feature a refreshed logo, color palette, visual identity, and messaging platform. The rebrand will be brought to life this summer on a new website that will be an intuitive and valuable resource for the WOC care community.

Since its founding in 1968, the Society has remained relevant to its members and greater healthcare community by evolving alongside WOC care. Throughout 2019 and the first half of 2020, the WOCN Board of Directors, volunteer leaders, and WOCN staff spearheaded the rebranding initiative. “We have a responsibility to ensure our organization reflects who we are and what we do,” said Stephanie Yates, WOCN President. “The time was right to update our brand and website to mirror our approach to the practice and delivery of expert WOC care, as well as the energy, enthusiasm, and incredible knowledge of our members.”


The new look and feel combines the Society’s legacy brand colors of blue and gray, with pinks, purples, and greens that energize and invigorate the brand. Imagery will feature a combination of real members and photographs that showcase the learning, collaboration, and friendship that members of the Society experience. Additionally, the new messaging platform defines how the Society enables professional growth for its 5,800+ members and aids in improving patient outcomes, which includes:


  • Relevant education | Handle everyday demands with relevant WOC education 

  • Effective advocacy | Deepen your dedication to WOC care through advocacy 

  • Cutting-edge science | Reach your highest potential with cutting-edge science

  • Supportive network | Get support and give support through our engaged network

  • Patient-centric approach | Feel the power of a community that cares about the same things you do

In summer 2020, the new website will bring all of the components of the new brand together. An intuitive website navigation and structure will make it easy for members and non-members to navigate to the resources they need, which include the Society’s comprehensive learning center, professional development, and networking opportunities. It will link to the Society’s members-only portal and other third-party websites’ offering valuable WOC care resources, such as JWOCN, bookstore, and more. 

Tags:  membership 

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The WOCN Society Unites 3,600+ WOC Care Professionals at WOCNext 2020 Reimagined

Posted By Kristin Petty, Thursday, June 11, 2020
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.

Tags:  wocnext 

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Ostomy Patient Working Toward Becoming Ostomy Nurse

Posted By Jenna Bertini, Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The content in this blog was provided by Charlotte Rensberger, Blog Coordinator at Girls with Guts

I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis and had my first ostomy as a teenager. As if pimples, periods, and boobs weren’t enough to deal with, I had to come to terms with the fact that I was now pooping from a hole in my stomach. At that time, I was treated by an adult surgeon and placed into an adult shared room. My WOC nurse then made it clear that not only did she not take care of many pediatric patients but that she also did not particularly enjoy them. I had nothing but trouble with that ostomy, and probably have some PTSD related to that experience. After nine months, I was able to get my j-pouch and leave that ostomy in the past.

Fast forward to 2015 and a failing j-pouch. I was so sick. I drove from southwest Michigan to the University of Chicago for a second opinion. That’s where I met Michele Kaplon-Jones, my new WOC nurse. I met her pre-surgery, where she did a ton of teaching, tear wiping, and hand holding. It was such a struggle to get past all the negative thoughts I had from my teenage experiences. But Michele set the stage during my first encounter with her, and I believe she prepared me for success… even if the surgery didn’t go well. I don’t have a great memory of those first few days; but I do remember Michele checking in on me every day—even when I didn’t have any medical needs for a WOC nurse to take care of.

"That’s where I met... my new WOC nurse. I met her pre-surgery, where she did a ton of teaching, tear wiping, and hand holding."

I live about 2.5 hours away from Michele’s clinic. I have been working to establish a local care team, but I just can’t give her up!! Michele's demeanor is one that just makes you want to be genuine with her. I feel like I can share anything without judgement. My stoma gives me trouble occasionally and requires a lot of convexity. Michele still checks on meeven from afar via email. She gives me so much encouragement and confidence, that the inconvenience of the 2.5 drive to see her is priceless.

I have also found support through a group called Girls With Guts (GWG). Since GWG began in 2012, it has empowered thousands of women with irritable bowel disease (IBD) and/or an ostomy. Through Girls With Guts, IBD patients can learn the latest medical updates. The organization also gathers supplies that can be sent to women in need. You often see new ostomates connect with veteran ostomates to find out that life doesn’t end with a stoma.

Like many, I developed close friendships and bonded with women who experienced the same pain, questions, and frustrations I had. When I go to our private online forum on Facebook, I know someone in the group had something happen to them that I can relate to. These experiences are invaluable for my well-being and future.

Charlotte_winnie_ostomyI am now a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. After reading post after post from Girls With Guts, it is clear we need more experienced and caring WOC nurses. After surgery, ostomates often feel alone—but they don’t have to feel that way. I learned that from my WOC nurse's compassionate care. So, I started looking into becoming a certified WOC nurse last year. I was accepted into the Rutgers University School of Nursing-Camend Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Education Program, and am now waiting to start my courses.

" is clear we need more experienced and caring WOC nurses."

I now have a permanent ostomy and am thankful I met Michele early on this journey. I need her and am relieved to know she’s only a phone call away. I can only hope that, at some point, I become the top notch WOC nurse that Michele is for me and to so many other ostomates. 

Charlotte Rensberger is from Battle Creek, Michigan. She has been battling Crohn's disease since she was 16 years old and has a permanent ileostomy at age 36. She has been married for 13 years and has two school aged children who keep her busy. Charlotte is a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner who currently works in a community hospital's newborn nursery. In her spare time, she bakes, refinishes furniture, buys antiques, crafts, and sings with her church's worship band.

Tags:  ostomy 

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Help Us Celebrate YOU!

Posted By Kristin Petty, Thursday, February 20, 2020

Did you know that the World Health Organization officially named 2020 the International Year of the Nurse & Midwife? This decision was made in order to celebrate the impact nurses' make throughout the world, highlight the challenges they face, and advocate for increased investments in the nursing workforce. 

Help us celebrate YOU! We want to highlight our members' stories in upcoming emails, on social media, on our website, through videos and our WOCTalk podcast episodes. If you've faced and overcome challenges, received an award or recognition, advocated for the specialty and your patients, provided your expertise through service learning trips, we want to hear from you! Tell us your story and help us show the world how WOC nurses are making a difference.

Share Your Story


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Women Helping Women: Nurse's Ostomy Journey

Posted By Jenna Bertini, Friday, February 14, 2020

The content in this blog was provided by Manda Barger, Secretary of Girls with Guts

Rachel-BadovickRachel Badovick is a certified acute care pediatric nurse practitioner. So when she underwent a total colectomy in 2019 she felt familiar with basic ostomy care. However, she began to have complications while healing. It was in this dark moment of crisis that she found the support system she needed to survive.

Badovick was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at the age of 24. This form of inflammable bowel disease, also known as IBD, causes inflammation and ulcers along the large intestine. She was able to finish graduate school; but after years of failed treatment, hospitalizations, and illness, she decided to get an ileostomy. She says she did meet a WOC nurse before her surgery to go over basic care. Badovick explained, “I’m a nurse myself, so I’ve changed plenty of ostomy appliances in my career, so this was more of a refresher for me.”

After her surgery, Badovick met another WOC nurse. Due to the extremely personalized care given, Badovick is calling her nurse “B” for this story. Badovick said, “B came in to go over a last-minute ostomy teaching and ended up spending an hour in my room talking with me about all the insecurities I had about living with an ostomy... Something about her personality just instantly clicked with me, and I felt so comfortable and at ease talking with her.”

Badovick began having issues soon after her colectomy. Once when she took off the dressing, she found two open wounds around her stoma. “The pain was so severe, I almost passed out taking off the dressing. I went to the emergency room, and the next morning the dermatology team diagnosed me with another autoimmune disorder called pyoderma gangrenosum.”

The Colorectal Surgery Department out of the Cleveland Clinic describes parastomal pyoderma gangrenosum as an autoinflammatory skin issue that causes painful ulcerations around the stoma. A WOC nurse was scheduled to give wound care. Badovick says she felt instant relief to be back in B’s care. “B performed my wound care with extreme patience and gentleness, despite me screaming and crying in pain.”

B gave Badovick her cell phone number for assistance, but Badovick ultimately was not be able to manage care by herself at home. She was also denied home health care. She and her surgeon didn’t know what to do until Badovick realized, “since I am a nurse, I have lots of nurse friends. I came up with the idea that they could learn how to perform my dressing changes. So, one evening several of them came to my hospital room and B showed them how to change my dressing. I was able to go home!”

Badovick’s support system grew even more. Once the WOC nurses at her work heard what was going on, they offered help too. Badovick said, “so, for the past 3.5 months, the WOC nurses at my job have volunteered their time to perform every other day, and sometimes every single day, dressing changes. They have come to my house for emergency dressing changes, and I have even been invited to their homes for emergency dressing changes.”

These nurses are a part of a larger support system Badovick found. Before her surgery, she found an Instagram page that lead her to the Girls With Guts Facebook page and forum. Since the page is ran by women with IBD or an ostomy, Badovick says she found sisterhood. She says “even if I just briefly glance at their content while aimlessly scrolling social media, it’s just an everyday reminder that there is a whole community of women who know what I’m going through. It can help me not feel so alone.”

She says Girls With Guts, called GWG for short, also empowered her. She describes that IBD patients and ostomates often feel less than, powerless, and lonely. “GWG encourages us to be strong, but also reminds us to give ourselves grace when we are sick and physically and emotionally unwell.”

The healing process isn’t over for Badovick. Her pyoderma gangrenosum isn’t completely healed and she still sees a WOC nurse about every day. That hasn’t kept her from looking ahead. She works part time in pediatric pain and palliative care and appears to no longer have digestion issues. She credits that to B and the WOC nurses she works with. She says with their compassion and expertise, they saved her from physical and emotional pain while allowing her to stay out of a skilled nursing facility. She adds, “they have celebrated my progress with me, and mourned my setbacks with me. They have shown me the kindness and compassion that every single nurse should strive to exemplify. And the thing is, they are helping me as friends, and not as a patient.”

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