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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 jbertini@wocn.org and she will help get you started!

 

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Run/Walk In Support Of Your Patients!

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Thursday, July 19, 2018

Run_For_Resilience_Logo

Started by two certified WOC nurses 5 years ago, UOAA’s “Run for Resilience Ostomy 5K” has blossomed into a major nationwide event to raise awareness of this life-saving surgery. This year's runs are the premier event in the U.S. for World Ostomy Day on October 6, 2018. It is also a key fundraiser to support UOAA’s programs and services.

Inspire and empower your ostomy patients, caregivers and families by running, walking, volunteering or cheering on participants in one of the nine Runs across the country being held on October 6th and 13th. Or sign-up to participate in the Virtual Run/Walk on October 6th from wherever you are located. Challenge your fellow WOC nurses in your region to support your efforts by creating a Fundraising Team and donating to UOAA, the leading ostomy patient support organization.

For complete details, run locations, registration and fundraising options, visit www.ostomy5k.org. You can also contact Christine Ryan, UOAA’s Executive Director, at Christine.ryan@ostomy.org or 207-985-9700 for more information.

Tags:  awareness  fundraise  nurses  ostomy  run for resilience  UOAA 

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Dealing With Life As A Double Ostomate

Posted By Jenna A. Bertini, Friday, December 9, 2016
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2016

taylor baby picture

How my journey as a double ostomate began:

I grew up in a loving family with five siblings. At the age of three, along with being a twin, I was developing my personality while enjoying time with my siblings, getting ready to start pre-school and feeling filled with joy. I had no worries in the world. I never imagined that one day playing in the backyard my clothing would start to fill with blood.

My parents rushed me to the University Of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) in Baltimore. After several days of testing, the diagnosis was a rare form of vaginal cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma. After receiving advice from medical physicians, my parents decided to transfer me to a hospital that specialized in this rare type of cancer.

taylor surgery in hospital

My childhood, and most of my adolescent years, was spent at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) in New York. Along with chemotherapy, radiation and too many surgeries to count, I was faced with having two ostomies (a colostomy & urostomy) for rest of my life. The doctors, surgeons, social workers, medical staff and ostomy nurses made my life as normal as possible. The care they showed was beyond their medical titles and duties. My family is ever so grateful to everyone at MSKCC for their care.

After the age of 12, I was able to do my follow up visit back in Baltimore under the care of Dr. Fromm at UMMC. Since 1995, I have been under the care of Dr. Faud Abbas at the Sinai Hospital of Baltimore. I look forward to my doctor visits. When you find a doctor like Dr. Abbas, you feel comfortable knowing your health is in good hands.

Since having two ostomies from the age of three, my life has proven to be a journey of unexpected challenges. While others appeared to be living a “normal life,” I struggled with self-pity, unhappiness, depression and low self-esteem. I found it hard, embarrassing and painful to be considered “different.”

How I dealt with what life had dealt me:

taylor ostomy awaress I Can shirtMy parents taught me to love myself and to know that my medical circumstance does not dictate my future. Their faith in God helped me to know I was going to be alright.

The support from my family and friends made my life feel normal again. I contacted my local United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA) chapter for support. I discussed different ostomy products to try with ostomy nurses. If a product worked for me, I stuck with that. I dealt with leaks and blowouts by keeping extra clothes and products in my car, at work and at friends’ houses. I still do not dwell on leaks; I clean up and keep moving. When you accept being an ostomate, others will. It is what it is and no one is to blame. If you lived your life before you had an ostomy there is no reason why you cannot live your life with one. Love the essence of who you are.

taylor woke up like thisWhat helped me to accept my ostomies:

The mantra LIVE FOR TODAY - don’t dwell on what happened yesterday and enjoy the moment is what helped me to learn that I am more than my ostomies.

Advice for my fellow ostomates:

taylor fashion gold dressI encourage other ostomates to get out and try activities and hobbies such as sports, reading, having fun, laughing, attending support groups, leaning on family for support and seeking out to the WOCN Society for additional support. And do not let your ostomy pouches stop your fashion style! Try different styles of clothing to see what makes you feel confident - the best fashion style we have is our inner beauty.

I am blessed to have my desires, passions and dreams come true. I am a double ostomate and have been a fashion model for over 17 years. Through my career, I am helping cancer survivors, encouraging ostomy patients, guiding aspiring fashion models and inspiring those suffering with low self-esteem. Just by looking at my outer appearance, no one could ever tell I live with these medical adversities and what I deal with 24 hours/7 days a week.

taylor fashion black dress

We all have the ability to make a difference, to change lives, to be a role model and be all that we can be as an ostomate.

I know am beautiful from the inside out, despite my life being a journey of unexpected challenges. I am trying to change the lives of others by telling my story through my book, Pretty Girl Blues: An Autobiography, my intimate journey of being a survivor. The adversities and obstacles that I overcame allow me to encourage, inspire and motivate others to “live their life on purpose with a purpose for a purpose.”

 

About the Author:
Jearlean Alston-Taylor was born and raised in Southwest Baltimore, MD. She grew up in a happy home with five siblings, including her twin sister. At the age of three, Taylor was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Doctors thought she would not live to see four. Today, Taylor has beaten all odds and uses writing and modeling as an outlet and a way to connect with other ostomates. Taylor is the CEO of J & Company Christian Modeling and Osto Beauties.

Tags:  cancer  chemotherapy  colostomy  double  fashion  inspire  journey  model  motivate  nurses  ostomate  ostomy  p  radiation  Rhabdomyosarcoma  specialized care  struggle  support  surgery  survivor  urostomy 

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Coming Up Short: The Need for Nurses

Posted By Lauren Schoener-Gaynor, Monday, October 5, 2015

Nursing School Hub shared its newest infographic explaining the need for nurses with The Society.

Nursing School Hub was formed  to provide useful information and resources to those interested in the field of Nursing. Nursing is a rapidly growing field with many promising opportunities for employment. The Nursing School Hub staff felt it was important to create a site that provides accurate information to help those interested in nursing to make an informed decision about what nursing job suits them and where to go to school.

Over the next decade, it is predicted the U.S. will see a significant shortage of nurses in the healthcare industry. As many nurses retire, their shoes of many of them aren’t being filled. With the need for qualified nurses expanding each year, how can we combat the coming scarcity of well-trained RNs?

The Need for Nurses

Tags:  nurse  nurses  nursing  WOC nurse 

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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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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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