Working as a Wound, Ostomy, and Continence nurse University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center is where Linda Coulter, BSN, MS, RN, CWOCN, found her passion. She tells the story of her journey and offers advice for those entering the profession of nursing.
Mr. K asked “Are you sure you want to do this?” His permanent ileostomy had begun to function and I was a RN studying to become a Certified Wound, Ostomy, and Continence (WOC) nurse, trying to provide care. “Yes, I am positive.”
“Linda,” he said, pointing at his stoma, “this has given me my life back.” He then described life before his ostomy surgery; unable to leave his house without knowing every restroom along the route and at the destination. Now he was able to go dancing with his wife and beamed as he described teaching his grandson to fish. After listening to his story, I was even more determined to earn my certification.
Every day my passion for being a WOC Nurse is fed by the people I meet who are getting their lives back because of ostomy surgery. Besides providing care, I educate patients, families, and caregivers. My fellow WOC nurses are equally passionate. We collaborate to provide high quality, evidence-based, and compassionate care. Our work is valuable to our hospital system, because the care we provide helps to decrease readmissions, prevents costly pressure injuries, and speeds wound healing.
I was fortunate as a senior in nursing school to observe the dedication and passion that is WOC Nursing, and it spoke to me, “This is what you need to do.” For those entering the profession, I encourage them to find the area of nursing in which they feel passionate and energized. The best, most satisfied nurses, regardless of where they are employed, are those who feel called to their work. Seek and find the specialty that speaks to you. Specialize in that area and get certified. Your patients, your colleagues, your family, and especially you, will be so happy that you followed that path--the path that was meant for you.