A Future Certified Ostomy Nurse in the Making

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In an effort to contribute to a solution on narrowing that large gap between the patients who need a certified ostomy nurse and the number of available certified ostomy nurses, United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. is sponsoring a scholarship award. More nurses specialized in ostomy care will lead to improved ostomy care in the United States.

Thanks to the ongoing generosity of the ostomy community donating to the scholarship fund, UOAA can provide this annual award in the amount of $3000. UOAA is excited to announce that the 2022 recipient of the Educational Award for Ostomy Nurse Certification is Jessica Peters from Maryland!

Below a grateful and honored Jessica shares a little bit about herself and her motivation to become a certified ostomy nurse.

I have worked as a surgical nurse at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center (JHBMC) since graduating with my Associate degree from Community College of Baltimore County, in Maryland in 2008. In 2020 I received my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Chamberlain University. Now an Advancement in Clinical Excellence (ACE) nurse, and a permanent charge nurse, I strive for the best patient outcomes.

In 2021 I received the Johns Hopkins school of nursing’s “Jarvis Star Nurse Award” for outstanding clinical excellence in nursing. In 2022 I humbly accepted the “Nurse of the Year” award from my hospital, JHBMC.

I contribute to both hospital and unit councils and committees, and my passions include mobility, safe patient handling equipment, ostomy, wound education, Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program (CUSP), and fall prevention.

My motivation and excitement to become a certified ostomy nurse come from the experiences and knowledge I’ve attained working in the surgical unit for 13 years at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Working in General surgery, you see many medical diagnoses and care for the patients following various surgical procedures. Colorectal and continent diversion surgeries are common in our unit, and I’ve noticed that patients, particularly receiving ostomy care and education, are unique and have many challenges to overcome. It takes extraordinary compassion to care for a patient having this surgery. I believe an ostomate is on a journey, and I’ve always wanted to be there on their journey, making sure every step is taken with care and consideration.

At the end of 2020, my passion for ostomy care evolved when I started the JHBMC’s first-ever “unit-based” ostomy committee. The committee meets monthly and has an organized agenda for discussion. The diverse group includes the unit staff, case manager, dietitian, surgeons, and Wound Ostomy Continence nurses from inpatient and outpatient healthcare teams. Our streamlined approach relies on communicating about the ostomate throughout the transitions of care. We also share best practices as a group and have created tools to make educating the patient as unambiguous as possible.  With the committee’s support, I created a spreadsheet to audit for proper orders and tasks required during the hospital stay and a step-by-step bedside checklist to ensure all ostomy tasks and teaching are completed before discharge. We have achieved much as a committee but most profoundly, we have the data to show our ostomy best practices, and comprehensive education model resulted in zero hospital readmissions from 2021-2022!

I plan to contribute to the field by sharing the insight and best practices I’ve gained from the committee at my hospital. I have the most incredible Wound Ostomy Continence nurse mentor and plan to receive my certification through the WEB WOC Nursing Education Program.

The past two years have been exciting, and it’s been a privilege to have a career that I love. My ultimate goal is to have the best skills and knowledge in ostomy care and to serve my hospital and community independently as a certified ostomy nurse. I look forward to advancing my career and can’t wait to continue this journey.

Congratulations, Jessica!

The next scholarship application will be available in January 2023 and closes on June 30, 2023. 

If you’d like to donate to the Ostomy Nurse Scholarship Fund online, please complete the Donate Form, and at the bottom under the ”Additional Comments” section, please note “Ostomy Nurse Scholarship Fund”. You can also send a check made payable to UOAA, in the memo line include the Fund name, and mail to PO Box 525, Kennebunk, ME  04043.

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