Let's get DOTTY



Presenting wound and ostomy education to bedside nurses in a large level one trauma center and teaching hospital has always been a challenge. Our facility hires new graduate nurses biannually; these nurses often have had very little wound and ostomy experience.

Traditional in-services along with posting updates in break rooms and on the unit had limited success; also there is limited time available during the hospital wide mandatory skills check off times. As a result, recommendations from wound care nurses were inconsistently followed.

This resulted in the development of a new way to bring education to the nurses, which we called “DOTTY” for Dressing and Ostomy Training. Each nurse is greeted on a unit walk through and encouraged to attend with a verbal tease about the upcoming session. Supplies to be used are carried in a large bright, instantly recognizable multicolored polka dot bag. Utilizing an informal, fun teaching format that also minimized disruptions in in-patient care and negated the need for the nurses to leave the unit was a large part of the program’s success. Each session consisted of a slide presentation on a laptop with humorous pictures related to the subject, along with customized wound models for a hands-on demonstration with sample dressings and supplies to pass around.

The sessions are delivered in quick, 5 - 10 minute “bites” which are repeated over 30 - 45 minute time frame allowing for nurses some flexibility in attendance.

Participating nurses receive a colored “dot” sticker to apply to their name badge. The dots are based on the Taekwondo belt system, starting with white and working towards black. A pin on the badge is awarded when a nurse reaches the black dot level, indicating them as a unit resource to their peers.

Attendees write their phone number on a raffle ticket, and then at the end of that particular education session, four tickets are drawn. The winners are given a silicone nurse’s fob watch and their photo wearing their new watch is included in the next DOTTY.

Anecdotal comments from the staff indicate that obtaining “DOT” stickers on their name badges has become a competition among the unit nurses, spurring them to request additional DOTTY sessions. A calendar is sent out every other month with the time and location of each DOTTY enabling them to attend on different units if needed.

The informal format of the DOTTY sessions has resulted in a close bond between the wound and ostomy nurses and the staff, especially the new graduate nurses.

The one obstacle was that the colored dots bought from office supply stores are paper and come off when the badges are cleaned. Luckily ¼ inch vinyl polka dots can be found on Ebay and Etsy.

The DOTTY motto is “make it quick and fun and they will come.”

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