A Day in the Life of a NSWOC

A Day in the Life of a NSWOC

NSWOC (Nurse Specialized in Wound, Ostomy and Continence) Week is April 12-17. At Nightingale, we’re very luck to work with a team of caring and experienced NSWOCs. To celebrate all the ways NSWOCs give back to their patients, we wanted to share an inside look at what they do on a daily basis to help others.

Meet Nightingale Medical’s Donna Tyson, and find out why she loves being a NSWOC.

Q: How did you become a NSWOC?

A: After graduating with my nursing degree, I was very keen about wound care and was fortunate to have an educator who fostered my passion and empathy. I enrolled in and completed the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing program at Emory University in Atlanta, GA.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

A: In acute care, a typical day for a NSWOC is never typical. We have to be prepared for anything and it can change by the minute. In addition to spending time on the surgical unit, we have an out-patient Ostomy clinic two days a week and can accommodate emergency appointments as well. We provide all the post-op teaching for all new ostomates throughout their admission and our goal is always to bring the patient or caregiver to complete independence by discharge.  We are extremely fortunate to work with excellent surgeons who trust our judgement implicitly. If we say we need more time with the patient to achieve this, we are granted it. No questions asked.

Q: What are your career highlights? 

A: My whole career so far has been a highlight. I find the most reward in working with new Ostomates from the moment of their stoma markings, who prior to that first visit, had no idea that people wear pouches on their abdomen. These patients are so scared of what lies ahead of them. My aim is always for patients to learn to love their stoma. I once had a patient who had basically locked herself in her home for over 10 months because she kept getting leaks. After assessing the source, making appliance changes and creating a step-by-step action plan, she was able to get her life back and fly with her husband to Australia to see their grandchildren. That was a truly great day for me!

Q: What do you love about being a NSWOC?

A: I love being with patients at the start of their journey, starting from the stoma marking consult. I like having “quiet” time with them, understanding their current medical situation, asking questions about their work and their family or support structure. We work together as a team and they always teach me as much as I teach them. We are on a journey together, and I will be there every step of the way to support and encourage their independence upon discharge. The door is always open – we’re here today, tomorrow and always.

Thank you Donna and all NSWOCs for all your hard work and what you do for your patients. In honor of our appreciation for our NSWOCs, Nightingale has made a donation Ostomy Canada to support the next Youth Ostomy Camp in their honor.