Ostomy nursing involves the education and care of patients who have recently had an ostomy, or surgery to create an opening in the body that will allow for bodily wastes to be discharged. The most common type of ostomy is the colostomy, which can be temporary or permanent depending on how badly the large intestine is damaged.
An ostomy nurse, also known as a wound or continence nurse, teaches patients how to care for their ostomy after surgery. They will help patients choose the right pouch and skin care products, while also teaching patients techniques for preventing problems, pointing them toward community resources, and assisting patients during follow-up tests or treatments to help prevent troubles. Not only does ostomy nursing deal with patients’ psychological concerns, but an ostomy nurse is also confronted with the patients’ feelings about the physiologic challenges of their new way of life.
Ostomy nurses receive special training in the care of ostomies and skin wounds, and ostomy nursing primarily involves the education and treatment in the care of complicated wounds. They try to show patients the different types of products on the market so they have many options, along with demonstrate removal and changing of an ostomy bag. They treat and evaluate patients with a wide variety of ostomy-related issues, including preoperative stoma site marketing, ostomy care education and rehabilitation, treatment of skin problems around the stoma, and recommending community resources like support groups. Ostomy nurses also provide solutions for pouch leakage problems and odor control.
Another part of ostomy nursing is preventing and managing pressure ulcers, taking care of skin problems related to wound drainage or incontinence, and other acute and chronic wound issues. Wound and ostomy nurses assist patients who are having difficulties with bedsores or pressure ulcers, non-healing surgical wounds, and chronic wounds like diabetic ulcers, venous insufficiency ulcers, and arterial ulcers. They also care for patients who have been burned and deal with traumatic wounds that are non-healing.
If you want to start a career in ostomy nursing, you need a nursing degree. Consider an online LPN to BSN degree or an online RN to BSN degree if you’re already a nurse. Otherwise, compare these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN)
» Online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)