This will be the first exposure of the OCA program to our members and we are quite excited to have it available. As we all know, there are not enough WOC nurses to meet the needs of every patient undergoing ostomy surgery or to meet their on-going needs. There are currently about 6,000 hospitals, over 16,000 extended care facilities and about 7,000 home health agencies and one of more of these are where ostomy patients will receive their care. Though we are proud of our membership at over 5,000 certified WOC nurses, not all of those practice the full scope. Even if all practiced ostomy care, there would still not be enough of us to cover every location that might provide care to ostomy patients. Knowing that, we need to utilize bedside nurses to assist us in providing quality care to this group of patients. Ostomy care is not a subject taught in great depth in schools of nursing and many non-specialty nurses are uncomfortable working with ostomy patients due to their lack of knowledge. The OCA program, with its WOC nurse course coordinator, will help close the knowledge and skills gap related to quality management of ostomy patients for bedside nurses. Developed as an on-line course, nurses selected by the WOC nurse course coordinator to participate, will be able to complete the program without having to miss work and or without having the expense of travel or lodging. Continuing education hours are provided with the program, another benefit for the bedside nurse. Graduates will be able to assist the WOC nurse in their facility or, if no WOC nurse is available, will be able to work with the ostomy patient’s physician or mid-level provider to ensure quality care is the standard.
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