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Guest Blogger: OstomyConnection

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Christine Kim, OstomyConnection Founder, blogger and content marketer, was kind enough to write an amazing blog for the WOCN Society, highlighting the 2015 Conference. 

I had the honor of attending the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurse (WOCN®) Society’s 47th Annual Conference in San Antonito, TX.

This event was created for nurses to gain insights from industry leaders, develop new skills, network with fellow WOC professionals, and earn continuing education credits.

It was incredible meeting nurses from across the country, hearing incredible stories and learning more about their vital role in caring for ostomy patients.

Here are a few inspiring messages WOC Nurses want you to know…

"The stoma can and often does make you healthy again, but it does not make you any more or any less of a person. Do not allow the stoma to define who you are."
– Coleen Potts, CWOCN, Cleveland Clinic, Ohio. Ileostomy since 1991

"You’re not going to welcome it (ostomy) with open arms, but someday you’re going to look at it differently and appreciate what its done for your life, I know I did. You and me together, we're gonna do this."
– Margaret Goldberg, CWOCN, Delray Wound Treatment Center, Florida. Ileostomy since 1969

"You are stronger than you think. You already have the life experience to cope with adversity and challenges, just draw upon those "tools" to give you the resiliency you need to be in charge of your ostomy, and not let the ostomy be in charge of you!"
– Rita Whitney, CWOCN, Medical Center of Lewisville, Texas

WOC Nurses have a pledge, it's ostomy care. They are highly prepared experts who treat complex wounds, ostomy issues, and incontinence.

WOC Nurses have a passion, it's patients. They hear our voices when we call. They’ll be a shoulder when we cry. And when our hope is gone, they’re near. It makes no difference who you are, they’re our angels.

They know all we need is time, give us hope for better days and they won't dare let us give up the fight.

Sincere thanks and appreciation goes out to all WOC Nurses for their dedication to caring for ostomates.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a wound that won't heal, facing ostomy surgery, or having problems with incontinence…you deserve a WOC Nurse!

Find a wound, ostomy and continence nurse in your area HERE.

Tags:  nurses  nursing  ostomy  stoma  WOC nurse  wocn 

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Enhance Your Practice with WOCN Publications

Posted By Brian Price, Tuesday, April 28, 2015
One of the many benefits that the WOCN Society offers nurses is access to information that allows them to further educate themselves throughout their career.

For example, the Society recently updated its Discharge Planning for a Patient with a New Ostomy document. The document, a comprehensive discharge plan for patients with new ostomies, educates nurses on basic ostomy skills. The purpose of the updated document is to provide clinicians with a quick guide to the essential elements of a discharge plan, which may be used to facilitate patient education and transitions of care.

Nurses who have purchased the document have raved about it:

"I personally feel it is a very helpful, concise handout that would be of great benefit to those at an entry level to ostomy care and the related discharge planning. I plan to incorporate it into my orientation of staff and student nurses.” – Sue Gluek, RN, CWON, The Community Hospital

"In a nutshell, this has been a great tool for other staff to reference when I am away, including how to get supplies, where to obtain them and what the patient needs. I am usually the only one that pre-orders supplies for patients, as I am the only ET for inpatient and outpatient care. When on vacation, there is a great disconnect.

Acute care nurses don’t know what should be provided, from where, and they have the misconception that home care ALWAYS provides supplies. Social service doesn’t know what to order (lack of knowledge in ostomy care). This guideline has provided detailed information for staff nurses when I am not available. Great job!” – Lori Lynne, Nurse Manager of an outpatient wound clinic associated with Meadville Medical Center.

"The publication "Discharge Planning for a Patient with a New Ostomy” has been a great resource. With this new publication, I have been able to update our Ostomy Care Policy, educate Case Managers concerning discharge plan, train new WOC nurses concerning ostomy care and provide tips for patients. The benefits from owning this publication have improved my practice by being able to stay current with information, improving processes to promote the continuum of care for patients with ostomies and being able to provide the best care possible.” - Tyree Fender, RN, CWOCN, CFCN, Confluence Health.

The document helps both non-WOC nurses and new WOC nurses by providing a guideline to ensure that a comprehensive ostomy education is done for a patient with a new ostomy before being discharged. The document features information on ordering ostomy supplies, ostomy manufacturers and support resources that are helpful with the transitions of care from hospital to home.

For more information or to purchase Discharge Planning for a Patient with a New Ostomy members click here. Nonmembers click here.

Tags:  ostomy 

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Guest Blogger: Stolen Colon

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. 

Tags:  nurses  nursing  ostomy  WOC nurse  WOCN 

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The Wound Treatment Associate (WTA®) Program Provides Fundamental Wound Care Training

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, browse the FAQs or email with any questions.


Tags:  ostomy  WOCN  wounds  WTA  WTA program 

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Stream Big!

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Monday, June 30, 2014

Did you miss conference this year? Miss a session while you were there that you wish you had attended? Were you not able to take part in the live streaming sessions? Don’t worry! Starting on Tuesday, July 1, the streamed hot sessions will be available for a limited time.

Don't miss out on the opportunity to obtain this cutting edge education.

Sessions are FREE for WOCN Members!* 
Not a member? Join now and reap the benefits! 

Non-Member costs are $30 per session or $300 for the full package that includes all 16 sessions!

Save up to 25% when you purchase the package!

Here are the sessions that will soon be available for viewing along with the presenters and original descriptions of each.

When the Music Changes, So Does the Dance: Health Transformation and the Role of the WOC Nurse Tim Porter-O'Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h), APRN, FAAN, FACCWS

There is been much discussion regarding the values and vagaries of health reform and the implications of the Affordable Care Act. 2014 is a critical year as many of the elements and requisites of health transformation and reform are enacted. The landscape for transforming nursing practice in clinical care now calls the profession to both recalibrate and reconfigure the foundations of nursing practice in ways that represent demonstrations of value in service, quality, and price. These challenges have significant implications for WOC nurses in a way that informs the transformation of our practice. This keynote session will challenge us to think differently about nursing practice in a value-driven health system and will challenge nurses to embrace and to engage new insights and processes which will transform the future of WOC nursing practice.

Health Care Reform: Creating a More Efficient WOC Nurse Practice
Kaye Martin
, RN

Health Care Reform is not going away! This session will provide the WOC nurse guidance with maintaining current Health Care Reform standards, while identifying creative ways to assist the WOC nurse to develop a more efficient system for practicing as a WOC nurse. 

Research: Fine Tuning Your WOC Skills (Oral Abstract Presentations)
Moderator - Donna Z. Bliss, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA

This session will provide an opportunity for you to hear the latest research findings in WOC nursing.  Research-based abstracts are selected by a rigorous, two-step process. Clinical investigators will present their findings in a moderated podium session.

Capitalize Data to Catapult Your Value
Evelyn Catt, MHA, BSPH, CSSBB

WOC nurses currently have limited skill and knowledge in describing their contribution specific to the value equation and describing value to the key leaders they serve.  This session will cover the distinctive process for measuring a change and different ways to display results to create value for a defined target audience.   

LEAD with the Right Notes: Get in Tune with the Updated 2014 WOCN LEAD Guidelines
Phyllis A. Bonham, PhD, MSN, RN, CWOCN, DPNAP, FAAN

This session will discuss the recommendations in the WOCN® Society’s 2014 updated Guidelines for the Assessment and Management of Wounds in Patients with Lower-Extremity Arterial Disease. This evidence-based guideline was developed by a panel of WOCN Society members. The presentation will address key updates in the following areas for assessment and management of LEAD: key assessment parameters, non-invasive tests, risk factors and co-morbidities, novel biomarkers, nutrition/medications, management of edema in mixed venous/arterial disease and post-surgical edema, surgical interventions, adjunctive therapies, and key strategies in patient/family education for risk reduction.

Out of Step – Atypical Wounds: HIT, Coumadin Necrosis, Necrobiosis Lipoidica
Janice M. Beitz, PhD, RN, CS, CNOR, CWOCN, CRNP, FAAN

Atypical wounds are challenging clinical care events since their identification may initially be obscured. This session will focus on three clinical conditions, heparin-induced thrombocytopenia (HIT) syndrome necrosis, Coumadin necrosis, and Necrobiosis Lipoidica. Epidemiology, pathophysiology, risk factors, clinical presentation, medical/surgical/nursing therapies and pharmacotherapy will be targeted.

Youth Gang Violence: NO Lyrics for Wounds 
Michel B. Aboutanos, MD, MPH, FACS

This powerful session will explore the "hidden” problems of gang violence (from the perspective of the Nurse, the Physician, and the wound care team) as well as the complex wounds sustained as a result of civilian injuries. Highlighted will be the aftermath of these violent and traumatic wounds, the clinical and social impact, prevention and intervention initiatives, and the role of the wound care team in this process.

Top Billing with Your WOCNCB Certification
Tim Porter-O'Grady, DM, EdD, ScD(h), APRN, FAAN, FACCWS

Every Certified Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurse (CWOCN) confronts the constant issues related to others understanding the value, significance, and impact of her or his role. Often, the role is little understood and the value not preconceived until after the WOC has acted and made her or his contribution. The greatest promoters of WOC nurses services are those who have received them. The question is however how do certified WOC nurses generate a sense of value and contribution to the larger constituency in a way that deepens understanding and value in a way positively affects the use of the role? Important also, is the capacity to differentiate the role of the certified WOC nurse from those who offer such services without evidence of the knowledge, capacity, and skill validated by board certification. This brief session will connect both the tools necessary to marketing certified WOC nurses and to articulating and demonstrating the value of their certification. Special emphasis will be placed on changing expectations for the value of the certified WOC nurse within the context of a reformed health system This session will be fast-paced and will move from the general to the specific, talking primarily about contextual changes having an impact on the certified WOC nurse's obligation to create a relevant context for reframing value rather than simply focusing on reaction, action, and the usual functional responses themselves.  Discussion will stay centered on the forces reflecting the kinds of value certified WOC nurses will need to establish over the short term in their role in a transformed health care environment.

MASD vs. Pressure Ulcers: What is that Yellow Stuff?
Dorothy B. Doughty, MN, RN, CWOCN, CFCN, FAAN

Diane Langemo, PhD, RN, FAAN
Mary Mahoney, BSN, RN, CWON

This session will highlight the challenge in differentiating moisture associated skin damage and pressure ulcers. The panel will present information regarding assessment characteristics of each condition to guide the learner in their practice setting. Additionally, the panel will discuss assessment pearls such as, "what is that yellow stuff” in the wound bed, and be asked to weigh in on whether superficial pressure ulcers exist. The session will include both the most up to date evidence based recommendations for assessment and classification as well as discuss recommendations for future research. 

The Wound Care Two Step: Integrating Palliative Care Principles into Everyday Practice
Kevin Emmons, DrNP, RN, CWCN

This session will discuss the principles of palliative wound care across the care continuum. A focus of this session will be placed on symptom management including pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic options.   

Thelma Wells Lecture: One Hit Wonders – Emerging Therapies Fecal Transplantation and Anti-Microbial Textiles
Stacy A. Kahn, MD
Laurie L. McNichol, MSN, RN, GNP, CWOCN, CWON-AP

This session will offer health care providers an introduction to the emerging science of fecal transplantation and how it is used in the treatment of recurrent clostridium difficile. Research in the area of skin care in the presence of incontinence continues to expand clinical options.  This talk will also serve as an introduction to emerging science regarding those products most intimate to the patient: their linens.

Honky Tonk Blues: CAUTI Update-Nurse Driven Bundles
Vittoria Pontieri Lewis, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN

This session will provide the attendees with updated evidenced based CAUTI practices/protocols in acute care.  

Management of the Patient with a High Output Stoma
Janice C. Colwell, MS, RN, CWOCN, FAAN

This session will review the management of a patient with a high output stoma (HOS). The information presented will build upon a previous conference presentation, and will cover the definition, differential diagnosis and assessment of  the patient with HOS. Practical information will be presented that will allow the attendee to develop a standard management plan for the patient with HOS.  

Turning the Hemodynamically Unstable Patient in the ICU
C. Tod Brindle, MSN, RN, ET, CWOCN
Rajiv Malhotra, DO, MS, FCCP
Ann Marie Nie, MSN, CNP, FNP-BC, CWOCN

This session will explore turning and repositioning the hemodynamically unstable adult and pediatric patient in the intensive care unit. Specifically, the panel will described the difference between expected changes in hemodynamic status based upon medications and medical condition and those which define the patient as truly too unstable to turn. Finally, the speakers will discuss techniques to safely turn patients in the ICU.

Norma Gill Lecture: The Lost Art of Colostomy Irrigations - I Want to Be Free
Vicki Haugen, BSN, RN, MPH, CWOCN, OCN

This session will discuss why we have lost the art of teaching colostomy irrigations, who are excellent candidates to irrigate, demonstrate how and when patients should be taught and finally, provide testimony from patients who have benefited from routine irrigations.

The Soundtrack of Your Success
Colette A. Carlson

Are you ready to turn up the volume on your career to gain the R-E-S-P-E-C-T you deserve? With a heavy dose of humor, Colette shares her prescription to fine tune your internal and external soundtrack resulting in less stress and more success in the frenetic-paced environment of healthcare. Improve your results as you note ways to communicate your accomplishments to become your own best advocate. Choose to become a strategic thinker to drive outcomes and influence decision-makers. Identify simple, yet powerful truths to lower your stress and increase your joy in both your professional and personal life.  

Brought to you in part by ConvaTec

Tags:  2014 conference  annual conference  continence  hot sessions  ostomy  WOCN  wounds 

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