Career Sphere

Consider a career as a wound, ostomy, and continence nurse

In 2008, hospitals, extended-care facilities, and home-health agencies will face these regulatory and patient-care issues:

• high expenses for supplies
• unsatisfied patients
• facility-acquired pressure ulcers
• prolonged healing time of wounds
• ostomy complications
• facility-acquired infections
• extended patient stays.

As a wound, ostomy, and continence (WOC) nurse, you’d be taught to address all these issues—and more. WOC nurses excel in many areas of patient care and education. Not only are they adept at coordinating with other disciplines, but they also can expertly direct the healthcare team.

Their patient-care recommendations are evidence-based, cost-effective, and individualized for specific patient situations, emphasizing complication prevention and disease management. WOC nurses also assist facilities in following required regulations and providing the highest standard of care.

Contributions of WOC nurses

WOC nurses make significant contributions in wound care, ostomy care, and continence care, including the following:

• identifying and accurately documenting pressure ulcers on admission
• preventing pressure ulcers by focusing on early intervention and skin care
• promoting positive wound-healing outcomes
• marking pre-op stoma sites for better patient outcomes
• managing ostomy supplies proficiently
• providing better patient education for patients with ostomies
• minimizing inappropriate use of catheters and decreasing associated infections
• reducing costs caused by incontinence
• eliminating the adverse effects of incontinence.

Behind every WOC nurse is the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, a professional society that supports its members by promoting educational, clinical, and research opportunities to advance the practice and guide the delivery of expert health care to patients with wounds, ostomies, and incontinence.

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