Diana Gallagher's blog

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nurses attending a clinical conference

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

I just finished attending my first professional conference of the year. It was a combined meeting of the Wound Care Institute and the South Central Region of WOCN. Since becoming certified as a wound, ostomy and continence nurse, I have always contended that important components of professional practice include maintaining membership in your professional society as well as a commitment to lifelong learning.

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wound care deserts

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

Last month, the news shared two important stories that were closely linked. Walmart announced the closing of 102 Walmart Express stores as part of their overall restructuring and statistical analyses revealed the states with the highest levels of obesity. These two stories prompted discussions about food deserts and their tie to obesity.

Food deserts are identified as areas without easy access to healthy food choices. They have been thought to be a contributing factor for obesity and the cascade of comorbidities that are tied to it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have funded Prevention Research Centers (PRC) in an attempt to ensure healthy food options in neighborhood markets. The lack of readily available fresh fruits, vegetables and lean protein options is problematic in some communities. The existing research, however, is not clear and more research is needed.

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ostomy care 101

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

In order to teach patients, it is important to have some basic knowledge about ostomies. Sadly, as I shared last month, the majority of nursing students learn very little about ostomies or ostomy management. Most nurses have a good understanding of basic anatomy and physiology so this is not the focus of this blog. Instead, we are going to focus our attention on basic information that every nurse should know and competencies that every nurse should develop in order to provide quality care to their patients.

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Ostomy

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN
Part 1 in a series focused on ostomy management.

As a CWOCN® (Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse), I have always been surprised that not everyone shared my passion about caring for and about ostomy patients. Ostomy management is one of my chosen specialties. Parents love each of their children and should not have a favorite. Managing multiple specialties is a lot like being a parent. I love each of my specialties for different reasons but, if I were forced to choose only one, caring for ostomy patients would be the winner.

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Spring flowers

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

A glance out my sunroom window belies the simple fact that spring is coming. It has been a long and difficult winter for so many, but the calendar promises that warm weather will soon replace the gray cold, mounds of snow, and glistening ice. It will be an especially welcome change after this winter.

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family

by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

I recently had the privilege of attending a patient's funeral. I would imagine that most nurses attend funerals for special patients from time to time. As a Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN®), I often care for patients with chronic conditions. Over time, I get to know them and their families very well. A lot of them have become more than patients…some of them are even my friends. I celebrate their successes and I mourn their losses.

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by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

I recently had the honor of participating in a meeting of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB®). My role was to assist the Foot Care Committee with the evolution of the exam for certification in foot care nursing. All WOCNCB exams are expanding to a larger format based on the recommendations of the testing industry. The committee worked diligently to assure that item inclusion matched the test blueprint which in turn matched the job analysis that had been completed earlier this year. There is SO MUCH work that goes on behind the scenes to maintain examinations that are worthy of the WOCNCB's "Gold Standard." Participating in this meeting was truly an honor. As one of the members of the original committee for foot care nursing, I could not have been prouder of the progress that has been made in the past decade.

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by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

I frequently write about the value and rewards of being a WOCNCB® certified nurse. It is an amazing job that allows me to save limbs and change lives on a daily basis. After decades of working in acute and outpatient care, I now work as an independent consultant. I teach, I write, and I see patients on a daily basis. Where I live, we currently do not have a single home health agency that employs a Certified Wound and Ostomy Nurse (CWOCN®). Routine wound and ostomy care can be easily managed but when there are those challenging patients with difficult wounds or unusual ostomies, there is a clear need for the care of a CWOCN.

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by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

I have always prided myself on my ability to place patients' needs as a top priority. Patients are people and each and every one is an individual. They have unique needs and desires. Their levels of education, both formal and life lessons, varies greatly. They relate to me and communicate with me on different levels. They may have the same need for education, but they each learn differently. Although there are commonalities, the differences are significant. All people appreciate knowing that they are a priority and that they matter. Admittedly, making every patient a priority is a juggling act at times. It clearly takes extra time and effort but going the extra mile has always been worth it. I believe that doing the right thing the first time saves time and effort in the long run.

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by Diana L. Gallagher MS, RN, CWOCN, CFCN

Regardless of your job title or scope of practice, being a professional nurse is hard work. Nursing is not a job for the faint of heart. In fact, nursing is not a job at all; nursing IS the ultimate career. Not everyone is suited to nursing; only the best and brightest need apply. Nursing requires a unique blend of intelligence and the ability to think critically while maintaining a tight grasp on common sense.

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