R.B. Turnbull, Jr. MD, School of WOC Nursing
Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nursing (formerly Enterostomal Therapy ET/WOCN) is a specialized field of nursing involving the care of patients with abdominal stomas, dermal wounds, pressure ulcers, incontinence and related skin conditions.
How Can a WOC Nurse Help You?
People with ostomies, fistulae, pressure ulcers and incontinence have very special needs. Recognizing these needs and the concerns you may have about them, Cleveland Clinic employs a team of nurses, called Wound, Ostomy, Continence Nurses, devoted specifically to helping you overcome any initial anxiety or insecurity you may feel.
Our WOC nurses are all board certified by a professional organization and have received special training. They keep abreast of state-of-the-art equipment and treatment programs and quickly make such innovations available to patients.
WOC nurses expertise makes them valuable not only in the hospital; but also in outpatient clinics, private practice, home care, at extended care facilities, in industry and research, and in nursing education programs. They are in demand in colorectal surgery, urology, pediatrics, oncology and rehabilitation departments, to name a few.
Learn about the history of Cleveland Clinic's R.B. Turnbull, Jr., MD School of WOC Nursing, which was established as the first WOC school in the world nearly fifty years ago.
Each day at Cleveland Clinic main campus, our WOC nurses care for 50 to 60 people with ostomies and fistulae. Each year, they provide counseling during more than 2,700 outpatient visits. They care for children, adolescents, and adults.
While your WOC nurse does not function as your primary nurse, the WOC nurse’s goal is to help ensure a smooth recovery so you can return to normal daily life as quickly as possible.
Your WOC nurse is available to provide individualized care and instruction at the bedside before and after surgery, in the outpatient clinics, and by phone even when you are at home.
Nearly one million people in North America currently have ostomies and 70,000 new ostomy surgeries are performed each year. People learn to lead very normal lives with temporary and permanent ostomies of all kinds. They work, have children, eat well, travel and lead active lives.
WOC nurses offer preoperative counseling, working individually with patients to provide them with information about their surgery and prepare them for what to expect afterward. They play an important role in stoma siting, finding the best spot on the abdomen for the surgeon to create the stoma, by identifying an area on the abdomen which will help ensure both comfort and a reliable seal with the ostomy pouch. After surgery, WOC nurses assess the abdominal and stomal area, and recommend the most appropriate pouching system. In-depth instruction will be provided regarding stoma and skin care as well as pouching procedures and techniques.
The WOC nursing staff cares for patients with colostomies, conventional and continent ileostomies, conventional and continent urostomies, fistulae and pressure ulcers. For those patients with incontinence, the WOC nurse can provide information on skin care, odor management, and absorption or collection products.
Please ask questions of your WOC nurse. Any question you have is important; no questions is too difficult or too trivial. To reach a WOC nurse:
Call us toll-free 800.223.2273, ext. 6677, or the direct line to the office is 216.444.6677.
We are available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Or you may email questions.
Some medical insurers cover WOC nursing services. Check with your insurer to find out about your specific coverage. A fee schedule is available through Cleveland Clinic by calling 216.444.9286.
You'll acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to provide patients with effective psychological support, discharge planning, rehabilitative counseling and follow-up care.
For more information about Wound, Ostomy, Continence (WOC) Nursing contact:
WOC Nurses Society
4700 W. Lake Ave
Glenview, IL 60025
National Institutes of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
NIH, Building 31, Room 9A04
31 Center Drive, MSC 2560
Bethesda, MD 20892-2560
American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy
1520 Kensington Rd., Suite 202
Oak Brook, IL 60523
2013 WOC Spring Symposium Conference Handouts»
For a Consultation
For outpatient appointments, call:
- Colorectal Surgery: 216.444.5404
- Toll free: 800.223.2273, ext. 4-5404
For hospital consultations:
- Ask your physician to write an order for an WOC nursing consultation