If you have a great topic that you would like to share with your colleagues, or if you are unsure of what you can write about, email Marketing Coordinator Jenna Bertini at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will help get you started!
Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor,
Monday, November 24, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, November 25, 2014
Are you a leader? Do you have what it takes to be an example for the WOCN Society membership? Have great ideas that you are ready to put into action? Here is your chance! The WOCN Society is now accepting nominations for the following open leadership positions:
As the WOCN Society continues to evolve and grow, the Society will continue to need high caliber member volunteers whose backgrounds, skills, and experience match our mission and its current and future needs. As a valued member, we would like you to consider nominating an individual(s) that would match the qualifications we are seeking. See below for qualifications, election, terms, submission information, and nomination forms.
Area 1, must be from one of the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, North America (excluding the United States), and South America.
Area 3, must be from one of the following states: Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, Asia, and Oceania.
Please Note:Active members who are employed by a commercial industry that provides products or services as defined in the WOCN policy are not eligible to serve on the Board of Directors.
Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor,
Monday, November 10, 2014
The first time I saw my stoma
It’s a very strange feeling to wake up after a major surgery and to find something foreign attached to your body. And I knew it was going to be there. (I can’t imagine what it would be like for those who went into emergency surgery and did not know what they were going to wake up with.) But I have to admit, I was pretty good at ignoring the bag that was hanging off of my stomach for a few days, before it was active and when the floor nurses were taking care of emptying it.
But then came the day when the WOC nurses came to see me.
Prior to my surgery, I had been given a lot of information about the surgery and about ostomies and I was also given an ostomy bag to take home. And sure, I held it up to my stomach to see where it would hang, but I didn’t actually stick it onto myself or practice cutting the opening. So when the WOC nurses came to see me, it was all new.
I remember so well that moment they pulled off the bag and there it was: my stoma. The first time I had really seen it, other than a few glances at this red circle inside my new bag. I could see how big it was and how far it stuck out of my stomach and how… scary it was. I think I held my breath for the first minute, but I kept it together while the nurses were there, trying to focus on asking them any questions that I had. My ostomy was pretty active during this first changing, so I just dove right into some of the difficulties with managing one. The WOC nurses were great and showed me how to clean the area and about some of the accessories that would help me take care of it.
But once they had gone, I broke down. I sat there with my husband standing next to me and just cried. It was the first moment of feeling like “what have I done?” and being truly scared of how this would impact the rest of my life. Even as I’m writing this, I feel the tears coming to my eyes because I remember so well that feeling of loss and of helplessness in that moment. But I don’t think the nurses realized exactly how I was feeling. I’ve gotten pretty good at hiding pain and emotions over the years.
And I really did have great nurses all along the way. The nurse I had before my surgery spent a lot of time with me and walked me through the process of picking my stoma spot. I previously thought that my stoma would be low, as in below my pant line. She took the time to explain to me about placement and why it matters. She helped me to understand why the spot we picked was the best spot. And I still think it is.
After the surgery, I had two nurses who came to see me and help me with that first bag change. They came back a day or two later and let me change it so I could get used to doing it, but they were there to help me figure it out and remember all of the steps. They were kind and open to any questions I had about the bag itself and about living with it.
Even after going home, during one of my first bag changes I saw some blood, which of course freaked me out. I called the WOCN department and someone told me that it was entirely normal to see some blood, but if it got worse to come back to see them. She helped alleviate my fears and that was actually the only call I ended up making.
I know I’m not the only one who has felt lost coming out of surgery. And that’s what I want others to understand. When someone goes through this surgery where a part of them is taken away, it’s almost like a death in the family. You immediately feel like your life is changed and there’s no going back to the way it was. A piece of you is forever gone. That’s a hard reality to come to terms with.
And that's what I think is so important for the people taking care of these individuals to understand. Even if the patient is very prepared for this surgery and even excited about going through with it, nothing can prepare you for what it’s like immediately afterwards, when you’re in a lot of pain and on a lot of medications and there’s this squishy red thing hanging out of your stomach. So understand that they are likely having a difficult time adjusting.
Keep telling these people know they are not alone. There is a great support group out there, both in-person and online. Reinforce that there are lots of bag choices and they don’t have to stare through a clear window at their poop for the rest of their lives if they don’t want to. Keep helping them discover all of the great places to look for tips and tricks on living with an ostomy.
But mostly, just keep taking the time. Take the time to help them feel comfortable and try to understand what they are dealing with. Take the time to talk with them about how placement of the stoma may affect their experience. Take the time to make them feel like they are the most important person in the world. This may be just another day for you, but for us, it's the day that changes everything.
Stephanie is the creator of The Stolen Colon, a blog and website entirely about living with an ostomy.
Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor,
Monday, October 27, 2014
Updated: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
The Wound Treatment Associate (WTA®) Program Provides Fundamental Wound Care Training
If you’re a non-specialty licensed wound care provider, a medic or corpsmen looking to enhance your professional skills, the WOCN Society®has just what you need!
The WOCN Society developed the WTA® Program, a continuing education activity, which prepares a non-WOC certified professional to provide optimal care for patients with acute and chronic wounds under the direction of a WOC specialty nurse, WOC APRN, or physician. Under the direction of a WOC specialty nurse, the program features online lectures, PowerPoint slides and written final examinations and skills testing.This online course is designed to be completed in three months and offers 21.0 contact hours upon competition. It is currently being offered nation-wide locations.
Don’t worry, if the WTA Program isn’t offered near you or at your current institution. If you’re interested in the course being offered at your institution, you need to identify a qualified WOC nurse (it could be you!) who would serve as the Course Coordinator. Then, highlight the benefits of the WTA program to administrators at your health care system or hospital. For resources on the program benefits, check out the marketing toolkit which provides interested parties with an introduction to the WTA Program, a letter to send to decision makers and a presentation for administrators.
Once program is successfully completed, WTA graduates can find additional resources to enhance their professional development on the WTA website, while current WOCN members can discuss issues and share information on the WTA member forum. If you’re interested in becoming a WOCN member, check out the membership benefits.
View the video below for a quick course tutorial that highlights the benefits of the WTA Program! If you would like additional information on the WTA Program, visit www.wta.org, browse the FAQs or email email@example.com with any questions.
The Call for Abstracts site is available now through Tuesday, December 30, 2014, at 12:00pm EST.
All accepted abstracts will be presented in some form during the conference, available on the WOCN website and printed in a supplement of the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. Only accepted Research abstracts will be considered for oral presentations. If your abstract is not accepted for an oral presentation, it will be presented as a poster presentation.
Submitters will receive decision notification in February 2015.
Sage Products, Inc. will provide the WOCN® Society an unrestricted educational grant to provide a limited number of travel scholarships to support first-time abstract presenters with a focus on Preventative Practices for Wounds. If your submission meets this criteria, please check off the first-time presenter button and make sure you choose Preventative Practices under the Wound category.
Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor,
Monday, September 29, 2014
At one point in their career, most nurses will work the night shift. Some love it, others dread it. Whether you love it or hate it, here are some tips WOCN found to get you through the night.
Coffee/Caffeine is not always your friend. While it may seem like a great idea to hit up Dunkin or Starbucks on your way in to work, consuming copious amounts of caffeine can end up doing more harm than good. If you have to have it, try drinking it later in your shift so that you avoid a “caffeine crash.”
Keep your guard up. No one ever wishes for an emergency but night shifts can go on for hours without anything “eventful” happening. Don’t let your guard down – be ready for something to happen when you least expect it so that when/if it does happen, you are on top of your game!
Change it up. Some nurses report that after they’ve worked the night shift for years, their career has come to a screeching halt. It’s a good idea to occasionally work the day shift so that key decision makers can see you in action and know the skills you possess.
Friend me! It’s no secret that night shifts can tend to be tight knit groups.Make sure you get to know who you are working with as those around you can make a long night shift longer if you don’t enjoy being around one another!
Brighten up. If you have the ability to wear brightly colored scrubs on your shift, do so. Studies have shown that the brighter the colors, the happier a person is. You can also make patients feel better too when they need a pick-me-up the most.
Snack time! Eating can be a huge issue for many that work nights. Eating a “breakfast” before you go to work can help boost your energy while making you feel ready for the day, well, night. If eating as soon as you get up isn’t your thing, bring food with you as well as a snack to eat in the wee hours of the morning. Nothing is worse than being hungry and when you are, it can make you feel more tired than you already are.
Not for everyone. Some take the night shift to assist with childcare issues, scheduling conflicts, etc. but sometimes, those who work the night shift find out that it wasn’t everything they thought it was going to be. If you find yourself in this position, it’s okay to talk to your supervisor. If you can’t perform to the degree that you need to, you aren’t helping anyone, especially yourself!
Have more tips on how to survive the night shift? Never worked it but have questions for those that do? Sound off below!
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The WOCN® Society is professionally managed by Association Headquarters, a charter accredited association management company.
The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center's Commission on Accreditation.
The Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society is approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing, Provider Number CEP 15115.
The WOCN® Society does not endorse or support products or services.