This website uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some of these cookies are used for visitor analysis, others are essential to making our site function properly and improve the user experience. By using this site, you consent to the placement of these cookies. Click Accept to consent and dismiss this message or Deny to leave this website. Read our Privacy Statement for more.
Print Page | Contact Us | Sign In | Join
Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society Blog
Blog Home All Blogs
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 and she will help get you started!


Search all posts for:   


Top tags: WOCN  woc nurse  nursing  ostomy  nurse  nurses  education  WOCN Society  clinical  conference  continence  nursing student  specialty  2015 conference  membership  ostomate  stoma  surgery  wound  3M award  3M Award for excellence in skin safety  annual conference  care  hospital  Nashville  NSNA  patient  research  urostomy  WOC 

Reasons Why WOC Nurses are Superheroes

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Friday, April 12, 2019

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a… WOC nurse!

WOCN-19-NurseWeek-Pin-800x80.jpgWhen you think of who typically comes to saves the day, you may think of a fictional superhero from comic books or movies. The reality is that Wound, Ostomy and Continence (WOC) nurses are our everyday heroes! They come to save the day for millions of people living with wound, ostomy and continence care needs. WOC nurses may not have movies or television shows dedicated to them (yet!), but they possess many of the same traits as superheroes. If you are a WOC nurse, if you know a WOC nurse, or if you have been a patient of a WOC nurse you know the truth.

Here are reasons that prove WOC nurses are real life superheroes:

1. They have healing powers

WOC nurses use their clinical expertise to provide intensive physical and emotional care. They help patients return to their normal lives by:

  •  Treating and preventing chronic wounds, pressure ulcers (injuries), venous leg ulcers, diabetes mellitus and surgical wounds.
  • Helping to select pre-operative stoma site marking to ensure post-operative independence, identifying and treating common peristomal skin problems, providing nutritional support, implementing moisture management interventions and teaching individuals how to use pouching systems.
  • Assessing physical, psychological and social aspects of urinary and fecal incontinence, preventing and treating catheter associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) and providing support treatment to help restore continence.

2. They are selfless

To be a nurse, you must love it. WOC nurses are one-of-a-kind. They are dedicated to their patients. Patients honor WOC nurses for the care, kindness, guidance and support they provide. WOC nurses take the time to really get to know their patients to better help understand care for their individual needs. WOC nurses are always there if you ever need anything!

3. They are brave

The healthcare field is not for the faint of heart, and WOC nurses show courage and bravery in many aspects of their career and daily lives. Many of the situations that WOC nurses face include bleak medical conditions, fast-paced decisions that could affect the life of another, hospital protocols and helping soothe scared patients.

4. They are strong

Being a WOC nurse requires both physical and mental strength. They often spend a lot of time on their feet performing physically demanding procedures. WOC nurses remain mentally strong for their patients. WOC nurses constantly provide reassurance and knowledge to help patients become confident and independent in their abilities to move forward with a new way of life.

 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 Wound, Ostomy and Continence nurse!

Tags:  blog  brave  caring  continence  healing  nurses  nursing  ostomy  selfless  strong  superhero  superpower  woc nurse week  wound 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Listen and Subscribe to WOCTalk, the WOCN Society's Podcast Channel

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Introducing WOCTalk, a Podcast Channel Courtesy of the WOCN® Society

As clinical experts, leaders and passionate caregivers, it can sometimes be a challenge to find the time to stay up-to-date on the latest healthcare advances, industry news and education. The WOCN Society recognizes that WOC nurses have limited time during, and even after their working hours, and we are dedicated to finding new ways to help support your practice-- that is why we are pleased to introduce our new podcast channel, WOCTalk.

WOCTalk is your opportunity to learn more about advocacy, education, and research that supports the practice and delivery of expert healthcare to individuals with wound, ostomy, and continence care needs—in a new, easily digestible format.

What is a podcast? 

If you are unfamiliar with what a podcast is, just think of an audio program (such as a music or news program) that is similar to a radio show, but available for download over the Internet or through an app store on a computer or mobile device.

How can you listen to WOCTalk?

Download/Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Download/Subscribe on Google Podcasts

Download/Subscribe on Android

Download/Subscribe on TuneIn

Download/Subscribe on Stitcher

Download/Subscribe on Spotify

Learn more by visiting

New episodes will be released every two weeks. If you think you'd be a good guest for an upcoming episode, you have an idea to share with us, or you would like your questions or issues addressed in an upcoming episode of WOCTalk, send an email to

Tags:  audio  channel  continence  continence care  discuss  download  episode  incontinence  interview  listen  nursing  ostomy  ostomy care  podcast  subscribe  WOCTalk  wound  wound care 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

Striving Toward Excellence with the Pediatric Ostomy Population: A Personal Journey

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Tuesday, September 6, 2016
Updated: Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Society member Joanna Burgess, BSN, RN, CWOCN, shared her experience about growing up as an ostomate and her contribution to the members-only document, Pediatric Ostomy Complications: Best Practice for Clinicians.

You can read Joanna's story below, and if you have a story you would like to share please email us at



Almost a decade ago, as a wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) student at Emory University, I was mentored by Michelle Rice, MSN, RN, CWOCN, a clinician at Duke University Medical Center. I remember being intrigued by the unique needs of the pediatric population, in particular, the neonates; some of which had multiple stomas from necrotizing enterocolitis. Michelle’s unique knowledge on how to handle the delicate neonate population came from years of experience and the dedication to assisting new parents with the physical and emotional needs of caring for an infant or child with an ostomy. Therefore, it was an honor to work with Michelle and other well respected wound, ostomy and continence nurses who have specialties in pediatric ostomy care to create the WOCN® Society’s members-only document, Pediatric Ostomy Complications: Best Practice for Clinicians.

Working with the WOCN Society’s Pediatric Ostomy Task Force of the Ostomy Committee and collaborating on the Pediatric Ostomy Complications: Best Practice for Clinicians was a personal experience for me and an undertaking that I dedicate to my father, who was the primary caregiver of my ostomy in my growing years. In Boston 1965, when I was just three years old, something that was suspected to be a simple urinary tract infection quickly turned into a diagnosis of rhabdomyosarcoma of the bladder. My original surgical treatment was a cystectomy and creation of ureterosigmoidostomy, generically known as a “wet bladder.” However, due to multiple kidney infections I experienced from the procedure, the creation of an ileal conduit quickly followed. All of this occurred during a period of time when there was no ostomy nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital to teach and support my family, and there was no access to online resources.

My father’s recollection of the experience was that the nurses seemed frightened to care for me. He remembers being handed a brown paper bag containing a few ostomy supplies at the time of my hospital discharge. He recalls returning home and fumbling through the packaging of an unassembled seven-piece pouching system. Through trial and error, he eventually mastered how to assemble the pouch, but he couldn’t figure how to keep it on me! To his relief, the packaging contained the phone number for the ostomy supply company Torbot, located in Rhode Island. My father and I quickly made the four hour trip from Boston to Rhode Island and met with the founder of Torbot, an ostomate, who showed my father how to care for my urostomy. My father was so overwhelmed with finding a confidant in the ostomy world, he even bought me a lifetime supply of products “just in case they ever stopped making them.”

Growing up with an ostomy became a part of my life, it seemed normal and was all I ever really knew. The only problem I can remember was an occasional itchy skin condition, sometimes causing me to scratch to the point of bleeding. This bleeding incident happened once in the first grade, and I remember my teacher was terrified as she scooped me up in her arms and ran down the hall to the school nurse. There was no doubt the problem with my skin came from the layers of bonding cement that was used to keep my ostomy pouch in place. The only remedy then was to apply karaya powder to the skin, which stung and was painful. There were also metal clips on my ostomy belt that would dig into my sides, but I learned to live with the fear that without the belt my pouch would leak or fall off. Despite these few irritations, I don’t remember feeling limited because of my ostomy. I continued to do the things I loved, such as swimming and dancing.

I had close friends who knew about the secret that I wore under my clothes. I remember my mother would coach me on how to discreetly change my clothes at slumber parties so no one would notice my pouch. This skill served me well in my later years of junior high and high school gym classes, where I was expected to change clothes in front of other young women in the locker room. I admit, I did feel very alone. I remember wishing and longing to know someone like me – someone else who wore an ostomy pouch. Since childhood, I have connected with several adults who also grew up with an ostomy and were treated during my era. That feeling of being alone would have been greatly alleviated, for both my family and I, had us ostomates known how to connect with one another.

Thank goodness we now know today how the times would change; how ostomy nursing would become a career that would involve not only care of the patient’s ostomy, but ongoing education in building confidence and independence with self-care and emotional support. We now know that products would go through many changes and improvements and that product development would be an ongoing process by dedicated companies and researchers.

Today, we have much more knowledge concerning the care of the pediatric patient and have many more products available to ease the challenges that face this population. As an ostomy patient and ostomy nurse, I currently share my story across the country. I am continually reminded of the need to reach out to families who have children living with an ostomy and connect them to the resources they need to aid the emotional and physical aspects of ostomy care. I am also reminded that we need more ostomy nurses caring for the pediatric population. These families sometimes search for weeks, months or even years looking for help.

In creating the Pediatric Ostomy Complications: Best Practice for Clinicians document, it is the hope of the WOCN Society Pediatric Ostomy Task Force that these best practices will give ostomy nurses, and any nurse who works with pediatric ostomies, the confidence needed to take on the challenges the pediatric population faces, from stoma to peristomal complications. When nurses feel empowered, parents will ultimately feel empowered to take on the responsibility of their child’s care with greater ease. The WOCN Society looks forward to hearing your comments about the Pediatric Ostomy Complications: Best Practice for Clinicians document, and encourage you to keep track of your own personal stories and suggestions as the WOC community continues to strive for success for the pediatric ostomate.

Joanna Burgess, BSN, RN, CWOCN is a full scope practicing Wound, Ostomy and Continence nurse at WakeMed Health and Hospitals acute care center in North Carolina. Joanna’s passion for ostomy care stems from her 50-year journey as an ostomate, after being diagnosed with bladder cancer at the age of three. Joanna’s contributions to the WOC practice include serving on the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Society™ (WOCN®) national Ostomy Committee for three years and contributed to the Wound Care Core Curriculum Textbook, in which she wrote on the topic of lymphedema. Joanna is the 2011 Great Comebacks® award recipient and has shared her story on a state, national and international level. She is a board member for the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. and she is the 2016 South East Regional WOC nurse of the year.

Tags:  bladder  bsn  cancer  care  caregiver  child  committee  complication  continence  curriculum  cwocn  document  msn  nurse  ostomate  ostomy  parent  pediatric  pouch  publication  rn  stoma  task force  teacher  textbook  urostomy  woc  WOCN Society  wound 

Share |
PermalinkComments (0)

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 

Share |
Join Now Contact Us: 888-224-WOCN(9626) Advertising

Copyright 2018 Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™. All rights reserved.

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.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: The names and contact information for all individuals listed on this site is privileged, confidential information and intended for specific purposes. No one (individual or company) may use any contact information on the WOCN Society website to contact, to distribute information to, or solicit anyone for any reason other than the intended purpose for which the name and contact information is available. Click here to view our detailed Privacy Policy.