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Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Wound and Ostomy Education

July 9, 2024



Hi, I'm Caitlin Scarborough. I used to work with my wonderful friend Amy down in Texas and more recently I moved back home to the Midwest, but we wanted to share with everybody our poster on one of our education programs that we started making a wound and ostomy master class.

So I'm Amy Erlich. I'm a certified wound, ostomy, and continence nurse at Methodist in San Antonio, Texas. I think Caitlin's going to start us off talking about the poster that we created on the wound and ostomy master class.

So I think one of the biggest things that we always had an issue with was education for our nurses. Both of us are very passionate about education. But the hard part about being an inpatient WOC nurse is that you get pulled for patient care. So we really wanted to come up with a creative way to give this education to the nurses. And fortunately, some good things came out of the pandemic, one of them being the series called Master Class, where people were at home. They could learn different topics. And so we came up with, how do we do Master Class for ourselves, make sure we're passing on those basic wound ostomy continence issues to our floor nurses. And so the idea bubble kind of started September of 2021.

And we started kicking around ideas on, how can we make a class that's pretty comprehensive? Who's going to pay for it, which was one of the bigger things. And then how do we deliver it to all the nurses in our system? Amy and I worked in two sister facilities for one of the large systems down in San Antonio and so we decided to do a centralized education program. We really leaned on our vendor partners because we knew we couldn't be in every place all at once and so we kind of came up with the framework and began the idea of rotating different WOC nurses through to talk about our policy portion and then have our vendor representatives kind of talk through their different pieces. So we really separated it into four main categories with pressure injury, prevention and treatment, NPWT care, ostomy care, and then our policies and procedures as wound care nurses, specifically around documentation for the nurses and how to consult appropriately, and things like that.

We got the ball rolling, I believe, December of that same year in 2021, smaller class sizes because of the pandemic, lots of separation, but we were still able to kick that program off and it's kind of blossomed and continued even once I left the state. And so we'll let Amy kind of keep going with that.

So each time that we were doing the class, we were taking the feedback from the people who attended the class and just continued to grow it after you left. So we continued on with the vendors and we just did rotating vendor education and they also were providing our food since the hospital was having difficulty supporting us in that. So one of the feedback that we consistently got was that the staff really wanted more education on pressure injury staging and on wound facts. So we started out with a four hour CEU.

So it took us a couple of months to get the CEU program approved. So once we did, we started out with four CEUs and then once they asked for an extra hour of NPWT education, then we added another hour so we're up to five CEUs on the adult master class. Then from there the nurses were giving us feedback that they really wanted a pediatric and NICU masterclass.

So we added a pediatric and NICU masterclass that's four CEUs and that has done really, really well as well, and now we have added a patient care tech master class. So again, wound and ostomy focused, pressure injury prevention focused and continent care. We also have rotating vendors for the PCT master class. What we've added differently for the PCT master class is a whole nutrition aspect. So they're talking about protein supplementation, the importance of providing, you know, opening the tray for the patient and those kind of things that are really focused on the patient care tech. So I think to piggyback on some of the things you were saying, we know as wound care nurses and nurses in general, we're all pretty tactile learners.

So one of the things we came up with was a whole booklet to go with the program. So you had tip sheets on all the products we were using. There was a lot of product demonstration, so very hands -on classes for the nurses. So they got to touch and feel the foams, practice cutting things in different ways, how to pouch an ostomy, a lot of that care is done by the wound an ostomy team, so the regular floor nurses don't always get that experience often enough, so we really wanted to focus on hands-on and making them a really nice comprehensive book. Again it got prettier and prettier as time went on with tabs, lots of space for notes, something that to act as their wound care Bible, so to speak. And it's flourishing ever since.

It's a quarterly class. And our main goal was all about sustainability, knowing that I was going to be eventually leaving. We really wanted to make sure that even if we both weren't there, that this program could keep going just to help the care of our patients by improving the education of our nurses.

The views and opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author, and do not represent the views of WoundSource, HMP Global, its affiliates, or subsidiary companies.