April 13-19, 2014 has been designated as National WOC Nurse Week. It is the one week of the year when we highlight the work of our speciaty practice.
This year's theme is Compassionate Care and Results. The theme is fitting as our specialty practice combines kind, compassionate care that garners praise from patients, with clinical expertise, and this combination delivers improved clinical outcomes, lower costs and changed lives.
A recent study
published in this Journal investigated how WOC nurses affect patient outcomes in the home health care setting. Home care agencies with a WOC nurse, compared to agencies without a WOC nurse were:
* Nearly twice as likely to have improvement in pressure ulcers
* 20% more likely to have improvement in lower extremity ulcers
* 40% more likely to have improvement in surgical wounds
* 40% more likely to have improvement in urinary incontinence.
* 14% more likely to have improvement in bowel incontinence.
published in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality showed that nurse certification in wound care improved the reliability of pressure ulcer identification and staging, and the reliability of the National Database of Nursing Quality Indicators (NDNQI) Pressure Ulcer Indicator.
WOC nurses meet patient needs not usually provided by physician services or other health care providers. Our specialization is based on intensive education, precepted clinical experiences and a rigorous independent certification process. WOC nursing is one of the few specialties recognized by the American Nurses' Association, signifying that the scope and standards of practice adhere to the very high standards cultivated by the national society.
The goal of WOC Nurse Week is to spread the word and educate others about the work WOC nurses do every day for patients with wounds, ostomies and incontinence. On this occasion, it is my pleasure to tell my colleagues that they are valued for their committment to WOC nursing excellence. Less than 20% of American nurses are board certified. It takes persoanl dedication and persistence to achieve and maintain certification in our WOC nursing specialty. Cheers to my hard-working colleagues!