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WOCN Society Represented at the National Student Nurses' Association 34th Annual Mid-Year Planning Conference

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Monday, February 13, 2017
Updated: Friday, February 10, 2017

Nursing students considering their many options following graduation were introduced to wound, ostomy and continence nursing at the National Student Nurses' Association (NSNA) 34th Annual Mid-Year Planning Conference. More than 600 junior and senior nursing students from across the country attended the conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in November 2016.

WOCN Society member Carolyn Crumley, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CWOCN, presented a concurrent student workshop, “Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing – WOC Nurses: Who we are, what we do,” which provided an overview of the impact that the WOC specialty has on patient outcomes and the various opportunities for board-certified WOC nurses. Carolyn also participated in a nursing specialty showcase panel presentation, with many students expressing an interest and requesting additional information.

Interestingly enough, in an unusual coincidence, the panel participants who represented eight different nursing specialties included a classmate from each of Carolyn’s nursing education programs – BSN, MSN and DNP!

Read Carolyn’s thoughts on her informative presentation and how she hoped it impacted the students:

1. What is one piece of information you hope attendees took away and found helpful from your student workshop, "WOC Nurses: Who we are, what we do?"

I hope that the nursing students who attended the session gained a better understanding of the WOC specialty nursing practice – whether they were interested in pursuing WOC specialty practice as their career path or in working with WOC nurses within their organization in other capacities. For those attendees who were interested in pursuing the WOC specialty practice, I hope that they found the discussion of the educational and certification options helpful. Finally, I hope that my passion for working with wound, ostomy and continence patients inspired them to seek out an area of nursing in which they feel the same dedication and personal satisfaction.

2. What piece of advice did you provide the students during the Nursing Specialty showcase panel presentation?

I stressed to the students that if you are not experiencing personal fulfillment in a nursing position that you are working in, explore the multitude of other opportunities. And it is not all about how much money that you make!

3. What did you like most about presenting to nursing students at the NSNA conference?

It was inspiring to see a new generation of nurses involved with a professional organization, even prior to graduation! I heard several other presenters who reinforced the benefits of continuing their involvement with the various nursing and specialty organizations.

Tags:  advice  conference  continence  NSNA  nurse  nursing student  ostomy  panel  specialty  WOC Nurse  workshop  wound 

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10 Things I Didn't Know Before I Had My Ostomy

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Tuesday, December 20, 2016

When I first got my ostomy, I felt very alone. I felt self-conscious of the smell and sound, and sometimes I longed for my old body. When I couldn’t take self-loathing anymore, I decided to make friends with my ostomy. I reached out. I inquired about support groups in my area and realized there are many people like me. I realized my ostomy is a beautiful thing and has enabled me to do all the things I’ve been able to accomplish over the years. It is my uniqueness.

These are 10 things I would have liked to tell myself when I first had an ostomy — 10 things I didn’t know but eventually learned, which I am so grateful for today:

1. What it was.

I had no idea what an ostomy was before I had one. But I have a confession: I didn’t realize exactly what it was until a year later! Coming out of multiple surgeries, I had so many bags and new anatomical surprises to think about that a little pink bulge on my belly seemed to be the least of my problems!

I’ve learned things in the past 10 years that have shocked, scared and relieved me, such as: You can’t actually feel your stoma — no nerve endings! I’ve had three ostomies and four ileostomies over the years. I didn’t realize how different they were. Once I learned about the differences and functions of each, I was better able to take care of them.

2. What my limits were.

When I saw that I’d have to live life with a bag stuck to my side, I assumed I’d be “fragile” for the rest of my life. But believe it or not, there are so many activities for ostomates out there! Swimming, karate, ballet, yoga — I’ve done everything I did before my ostomy and more.

3. There are so many strong ostomates.

I was privileged to be the Eastern regional recipient of the Great Comebacks award and meet five other amazing ostomates doing incredible things. There is a huge, supportive ostomy community, including celebrities! Did you know Great Comebacks was founded by a former NFL linebacker?

4. Ostomates excel at innovation and inventiveness.

It turned out I was able to do all the things I thought I couldn’t — but that didn’t mean it was easy. Some of the best things in life take hard work, and that makes you appreciate them even more. Let’s just say that plastic wrap, Pepto-Bismol, waterproof tape and wet suits have become good friends of mine. I’ve even made a creative workshop for ostomy patients and healthcare professionals. The “Renegades” music video by X Ambassadors features a blind man who says it best: “It’s not a matter of enjoying it more or less; it’s about enjoying it differently.”

5. How amazing my body is.

I have a new respect for my body and the way it can function now.

6. Judgment hurts, but fear hurts more.

Stay informed and know the facts. The more I actually understood how an ostomy worked, the more I realized how wonderful it was. After that, I took it as my responsibility to educate others.

Instead of wondering if I was being “judged” by others, I took it as a privilege to inform them.

7. Everything is connected.

Take care of your full selfemotional, spiritual, mental and physical.

If you’re stressed you might get physical side effects, such as being bloated or feeling pain and discomfort. Remember to take deep breaths in difficult times.

8. The people who love you, love you.

If you’re just getting comfortable with your ostomy, remember that your support system loves you for who you are. You are more than your ostomy.

Reach out to the ones you love when you feel alone, and never forget how loved you are.

9. Eat fresh.

You are what you eat, so eat whole and nourishing foods. Your ostomy will thank you, and so will you!

10. Life can go on.

Throughout these years, I’ve been strong, determined and willing to do whatever it took to stay alive. I’ve dealt with tubes, bags, poles, you name it. And if this ostomy is all that I’m left with after everything, then I am truly grateful. More than that, I thank my ostomy for enabling me to live life to the fullest, to my fullest. I call it my Harry Potter thunderbolt scar: a symbol of strength, courage, individuality and life.

There are a few things I didn’t know before my ostomy. But what I look forward to most is everything left to learn. Thank you, ostomy, for making the world a wide open door once again.

Follow my journey.


About the author:

Amy OestreicherAmy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress and playwright who is sharing the lessons learned from trauma through her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking.

As the creator of the Gutless & Grateful, a one-woman autobiographical musical, Amy has toured theaters nationwide, along with a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness and Broadway Theatre for college campuses and international conferences. Her original, full-length drama, Imprints, premiered at the NYC Producer's Club in May 2016, exploring how trauma affects family as well as the individual.

To celebrate her own “beautiful detour,” Amy created the #LoveMyDetour social media campaign, to help others cope in the face of unexpected events. "Detourism" is the subject of her TEDx talk and upcoming book, My Beautiful Detour, available December 2017. As Eastern Regional Recipient of Convatec’s Great Comebacks Award, Amy has contributed to over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC's TODAY, CBS and Cosmopolitan, among others. She has devised workshops for conferences nationwide and presented at the 2016 Northeast Region WOCN Conference, and is the 2016 keynote speaker for the Hawaii Pacific Rim International Conference on Diversity and Disability. To learn about the art of navigating beautiful detours and to sign up for updates visit amyoes.com.

Tags:  advice  advocate  disability  educate  Great Comebacks  ileostomy  inform  learn  life lessons  ostomate  ostomy  resilient  stoma  strong  support  surgery  tips 

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