What Is A Enterostomy Nurse?
Enterostomy therapy nurses, often known as ET or stoma nurses, are registered nurses who care for patients who have or may require enterostomies, a treatment that involves the creation of an ostomy (or stoma) in the body to redirect the bowels and evacuate excrement. Once an ostomy is performed, it must be cared for continuously, which is the reason why enterostomy nurses provide medical care as well as teaching patients and their families how to properly care for them at home. ET nurses must be at ease with the messier components of the job, such as cleaning and/or fixing malfunctioning ostomy appliances and caring for skin infections around the ostomy.
Train to Become an Enterostomy Nurse
An enterostomy nurse must first earn a nursing degree and obtain RN licensure. Additionally, expertise with wound care and ostomies is strongly desired prior to pursuing formal certification.
The following are examples of skills that are typically listed in job descriptions for enterostomy nurses. While specific requirements vary per position, they generally involve the following:
- Capacity to anticipate patient need
- Capacity to offer and administer care in accordance with the directives of nursing management
- Capable of acting as a leader and collaborating with a multidisciplinary care team
- Have at least two years of experience as a registered nurse
What Education Do Enterostomy Nurses Need?
The majority of enterostomy nursing roles demand a four-year Bachelor’s degree in nursing or higher, as well as passing the NCLEX-RN exam. Apart from the additional specialized training and qualifications, hospitals and other businesses generally prefer that their ET nurse hires have at least a few years of hands-on RN experience. Experience with ostomies or an interest in ostomies is considered a bonus. Some ET nurses continue their education by earning Master’s or PhD degrees.
Is it necessary to obtain any certifications or credentials?
The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB) offers a few enterostomy treatment nurse certificates. They include the following:
- Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN)
- Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse – CWON
- COCN – Ostomy Care Nurse Certified
Eligibility requirements include holding a BSN or higher degree and an active RN license, as well as graduating from an approved nursing education school or accruing a specified number of direct patient clinical hours combined with continuing education credits.
Where Do Enterostomy Nursing Professionals Work?
Although enterostomy nurses are primarily employed in hospitals, they may also work in physician offices, clinics, and other healthcare settings. Additionally, ET nurses can work in nursing homes and assisted living facilities, as well as provide in-home care through a home health or hospice care organization. Occasionally, medical device firms hire ET nurses as well.
What Is the Role of an Enterostomy Nurse?
Enterostomy nurses’ primary responsibility is to care for patients prior to and following enterostomy surgery. This includes, but is not limited to, ileostomy, colostomy, and urostomy operations. If the surgery is not performed on an emergency basis, the ET nurse will consult with the patient prior to surgery to aid them in planning the ostomy placement and to advise them on how to avoid irritation near the site. Following surgery, ET nurses educate the patient on how to properly utilize their ostomy appliances and on self-care recommended practices. Additionally, these nurses may treat or educate patients about common complications like as skin infections and fistulas, as well as collaborate with them on pain management.
What Are the Duties and Responsibilities of an Enterostomy Nurse?
- Preparation of patients requiring enterostomy procedures
- Educate a patient and their caregivers on proper ostomy care.
- Provide guidance on ostomy equipment and other necessary medical supplies.
- Maintain and replace ostomy appliances
- Treat problems such as skin irritation, obstructions, and fistulas.
- Provide advise on how to improve ostomy health through lifestyle modifications and nutrition.
- Assist in the management of pain
Salary and Employment for Enterostomy Nurses
Earnings for enterostomy nurses range from $75,802 to $92,495 a year, depending on region, education level, and experience. The median annual pay for an ET nurse is approximately $83,542.
Employment prospects for ET nurses remain favorable, and many members of the field like the long-term ties they have with their patients. This specialization pays more than a majority of other nursing specialties and typically has consistent hours. If an RN is capable of handling the sometimes-scary chores associated with dealing with bodily waste and fluids, they have a good chance of establishing a stable and successful career in the speciality.