New role title recognizes nurses specialized in wound, ostomy and continence

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Formerly the IWK’s enterostomal therapy nurse, Emily Woodgate’s role is shifting titles to better recognize its scope of practice.

To align with international practices and more accurately reflect their work, the Canadian Association for Enterostomal Therapy officially changed the role title to nurse specialized in wound, ostomy and continence (NSWOC) at the beginning of May. The organization itself has also changed its name to match.

The IWK currently has one full-time nurse specialized in wound, ostomy and continence which additionally supports ambulatory burn care. Woodgate has been in this role for two months and has undertaken significant additional training and certification.

“I love the way my role combines education, bedside nursing and encompasses the whole hospital,” says Woodgate. “My work is really rewarding, I get to see the fruits of my labour.”

Her work is divided into two primary categories: clinical consultation and care, and education. Woodgate meets with patients and caregivers across the IWK to provide specialized, expert knowledge in the areas of wounds, ostomy and continence as well as burns. Additionally, she devotes significant time to education, particularly around pressure injury prevention. Not only is this work helpful for patients, but it is also a key component of the requirements of practice laid out by Accrediation Canada.

As part of her role, Woodgate is constantly reviewing literature and best practices and meeting with vendors to ensure she is able to provide up-to-date information to her patients and colleagues.

“I think it’s so important to have somebody who has this knowledge,” Woodgate adds. “Things are always changing…and it’s impossible to keep everyone up-to-date so it’s great to have one person who has the expertise who can the help other people choose the best products or best procedures.”

This devotion to best practice extends beyond her work at the IWK as Woodgate sits on two provincial committees, including the provincial wound care formulary committee. Through this group, the IWK is playing a leadership role in working towards uniform processes and practices across the province.