Episode 119 WOC Nurse-Led Ostomy Support Groups

In this episode of WOCTalk, we sit down with Vashti Livingston, Stacy Krakower, and Rebecca Poleshuck, three dedicated WOC nurses who facilitate ostomy support groups. They share insights into how their groups operate and discuss finding the best model based on different patient populations and institutional support. Discover popular topics covered in these groups and get practical advice for starting your own. Learn about the crucial role support groups play in helping individuals adjust emotionally and practically to life with an ostomy. This episode is a must-listen for healthcare professionals interested in starting or enhancing existing ostomy support groups.

Episode Resources:
Click here to find a UOAA Affiliated Ostomy Support Group near you. People who have or will have surgery, caregivers, family, friends and medical professionals are invited to attend and benefit from lifelong learning and emotional support.
Click here to access the article, The Role of the WOC Nurse in an Ostomy Support Group by Stephanie Mowdy, BSN, RN, C, CETN. Click “Download” on the left-hand side to get the PDF version of the original article that was published in the JWOCN® in 1998.
Click here to access the article Starting and Maintaining a Hospital‐Based Ostomy Support Group by Heidi Huddleston Cross, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, published in the JWOCN in 2010.
Click here to access the WOCN members-only online Ostomy Community
Click here to access the WOCN members-only Professional Practice Community

About the Speakers:
Vashti Livingston, MS, RN, CWOCN, has been a member of the WOCN Society for 20 years. Vashti has been a WOC nurse co facilitator for an ostomy support group for 20 years. She currently works as a Certified WOC Nurse Ambulatory Urology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center NYC. Her educational background includes Emory University WOCNEP (2001); MS in Adult Health Nursing (2005); BSN (1990) and BS Biology (1984).

Stacy Krakower, BSN, RN, CWON, has over 20 years of direct patient care working in the acute, long term, ambulatory and home care settings. Stacy completed her training in wound and ostomy nursing from the Emory University Wound and Ostomy Certification Program and has been certified wound and ostomy nurse for the past six years. Since 2019, Stacy has had the privilege of being one of the leaders of the Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center’s Ostomy Support Group. She has helped grow this group over the years as it successfully pivoted from an in person support group to a virtual group. She is passionate about her role as a leader of such an important group as she feels that knowledge is acquired over time and support groups can offer the ostomy community life long learning, support and friendship.

Rebecca Poleshuck, MSN, FNP-BC, CWOCN, presently practices as a Wound Ostomy and Continence Specialist and Colorectal Surgery Nurse Practitioner, with special certification in wound, ostomy and continence care. She has practiced in the field of nursing for over 19 years, providing care to pressure injury patients, and developing comprehensive educational programs for registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and patient care assistants. As a wound care expert at an academic medical center, she routinely diagnoses and treats patients with pressure injuries based on the etiology and stage of the wound. She received a BS in Nursing from Hunter-Belleveue School of Nursing and certification as a Family Nurse practitioner from SUNY Downstate. She is currently employed at Mt. Sinai Beth Israel Hospital in New York as a nurse practitioner, wound, ostomy and continence specialist. Rebecca is Co-chair of the WOC Nurse Mount Sinai Health System Steering Committee for Hospital Acquired Pressure Injury prevention and provide a consultation service for wounds, ostomies and fistulas in the acute care setting as well as in a nurse practitioner run outpatient clinic for patients with recent ostomies and patients with long term concerns. She has also developed prevention strategies for patients at risk for pressure injuries in unit based quality improvement projects as well as developing a wound and ostomy continuing education program for Mount Sinai Beth Israel School of Nursing. Rebecca has created a staff development program for Registered Nurses and Patient Care Associates to prevent pressure injuries, moisture associated dermatitis, the care of lower extremity wounds and ostomies. She also created a staff development program for nurse practitioners for care of oncological wounds. Rebecca sits on Mount Sinai systemwide committees for pressure injury prevention and for credentialling of advanced practice providers.