Letters to the Editor

Nurses can sign up for online and hands-on ostomy training

For many years, ostomy surgery was rarely spoken of. It is performed for a variety of disease processes, including birth defects, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, incontinence and cancer. It can be necessary due to trauma and accident. This surgery changes the way urine or a stool exits the body, resulting in the person wearing an external pouch for waste collection.

About 100,000 ostomy surgeries are performed in the nation annually. There are 6,000 hospitals, over 16,000 extended-care facilities and approximately 7,000 home health agencies.

But here are only about 5,000 Wound, Ostomy and Continence nurses in the United States. In Miami-Dade County there are just nine WOC-certified nurses. These specialists provide comprehensive ostomy-care education for the patient and family members.

Ostomy care is not covered in great depth in nursing schools. Many nurses are uncomfortable working with ostomy patients becasue of their lack of knowledge and experience.

Miami Ostomy Aftercare Program, a nonprofit organization, creates opportunities for ostomy education, providing the WOCN Society’s Ostomy Care Associate Program (OCA) — online learning modules and on-site, hands-on competency training and testing. It provides nurses 27.0 contact hours. It is a unique opportunity to enhance ostomy, fistula and tube-care knowledge and skills to help fill the needs for quality management of ostomy patients.

The next class begins on Aug.26. To register, go to miamiostomyaftercare.org or call 786-580-3928.

Mary Lou Boyer, WOC nurse and education coordinator at Miami Ostomy Aftercare Program, Inc., Miami