What is an Enterostomal Therapy Nurse?

A stoma or enterostomal therapy nurse cares for patients with wounds, ostomy, and continence procedures.

These surgeries and procedures often result from bodily ailments, diseases, medical conditions, or injuries.

accordingly, an ET nurse receives additional training in wounds, incontinence, and ostomies.

These specially trained registered nurses help with fecal and urinary diversions and devices like stomas.

Assisting patients with ostomy surgery requires extensive training, discipline, and understanding.

As a result, many ET nurses have a BSN due to their specialization and medical knowledge.

Special training and certification are available from agencies such as the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses Society.

What Do ET Nurses Do?

Enterostomal therapy nurses perform various duties to treat patients who receive ostomies adequately.

For instance, they effectively manage wounds and fistulas requiring draining.

They also treat chronic injuries resulting in ulcers and incontinence issues.

Enterostomal therapy nurses assist patients with medical needs before and after surgery.

They provide proper assistance, support, and advice to care for these specific issues.

Before surgery, the nurse will help counsel the patient regarding the procedure.

These specialists explain the changes the patient will undergo due to the ostomy.

It includes any dietary and sex life changes the patient must make.

ET nurses also help select a site to place the stoma to remove waste products from the patient’s body.

After surgery, the nurse will give proper instructions for the care and management of the patient’s stoma.

They’ll also advise the patient on managing their condition upon release from the hospital.

When involved in outpatient therapy, these nurses continue to support and care for their patients on an ongoing basis.

It allows the nurse to monitor the stoma and be aware of any changes or potential issues in a patient’s care and condition.

An enterostomal therapy nurse is most likely found in an inpatient hospital treating pre-surgical and post-surgical fecal and urinary diversion patients.

These patients suffer from a variety of conditions that result in the need for surgical diversion procedures.

An ET nurse will check on other types of patients as well.

Those who suffer from draining wounds need to have their drainage tubes managed.

Also, patients confined to bed for long periods need to be adjusted to prevent the development of chronic wounds and skin ulcers, such as bed sores.

It makes this type of nurse a positive addition to both short- and long-term care facilities and facilities.

In addition, they play a significant role in providing care for the chronically ill and elderly.

Occupational Responsibilities:

  • Update medical records
  • Manage wounds and fistulas
  • Educate patients on the ostomy procedure
  • Treat chronic conditions and injuries
  • Manage stomas, complex wounds, and incontinence
  • Provide bedside support and care
  • Monitor the patient’s recovery
  • Offer post-surgery advice on lifestyle changes
  • Help patients manage their condition

Where do ET Nurses Work?

Enterostomal therapy nurses work in various settings that offer ostomy procedures and therapy.

It includes hospitals, specialty departments, wound ostomy and continence, ambulatory care, and outpatient care.

They also work for assisted living facilities, hospice care, home care agencies, medical supplies, and pharmaceutical companies.

Nevertheless, many enterostomal therapy nurses operate in an inpatient hospital.

It enables them to treat pre-surgical and post-surgical fecal and urinary diversion patients adequately.

It also helps them provide additional support to registered nurses, physicians, and surgeons.

Occupational Settings:

  • Hospitals
  • Specialty departments
  • Wound ostomy and continence
  • Ambulatory care
  • Outpatient care facilities

How to Become an ET Nurse

an Enterosotmal therapy nurse works closely with patients who’ve received surgical procedures.

As a result, they must have a good understanding of their role and adequate knowledge to provide proper patient care.

Becoming an ET nurse requires a BSN, adequate work experience, and completing a WOCN program.

Entersotoaml therapy nurses may also want certification to advance their career opportunities.

This section explores the steps necessary to become an enterostomal therapy nurse.

1. Join a Nursing Program

The first step to becoming an ET nurse is to join a nursing program.

All nursing programs have prerequisite courses students must satisfy to enter the program.

The prerequisite courses may last 1 – 3 years, depending on the student’s prior education.

Students must also maintain a good GPA to participate in the program and compete with other potential nursing students.

Most individuals can complete their prerequisite courses at an accredited college or university.

They may apply for a nursing program at that university or transfer credits to another school.

Nevertheless, it’s essential to ensure that the credits can transfer from one school to another without any issues.

After completing the necessary prerequisites, students may apply for the nursing program.

2. Obtain a BSN

Most colleges offer students two options for becoming licensed registered nurses.

It includes the Associate’s Degree in Nursing and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

The ADN program takes about 18 – 24 months to complete and provides a good foundation in nursing.

As a result, it’s excellent for those who want to quickly enter the nursing field, earn money and gain experience.

Nevertheless, this degree does limit a registered nurse’s occupational growth and opportunities.

The BSN degree takes about 36 – 48 months to complete and provides students with advanced education and training.

It enables them to move into more specialized roles like ET nursing.

Accordingly, those who want to become enterostomal therapy nurses will want to obtain their BSN.

Many healthcare facilities prefer or require a BSN for this specialization.

3. Pass the NCLEX-RN

After completing nursing school, students must pass the NCLEX-RN exam.

It enables them to obtain their licensure and work as registered nurses.

The National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) develops the NCLEX exam.

This exam tests the student’s competencies and knowledge of the nursing program.

It ensures they have adequate knowledge, training, and skill to provide adequate bedside care.

4. Acquire Work Experience

After acquiring a BSN and passing the NCLEX-registered, nurses must obtain work experience.

Some careers require nurses to acquire several months to several years of bedside care experience to apply for the position.

Aspiring enterostomal therapy nurses must complete a wound, ostomy, and continence nursing education program.

Registered nurses can find these programs through numerous universities and the WOCN.

This program may require up to 160 clinical practicum hours plus bi-weekly classes.

Nevertheless, the length of the program depends on the college, its course curriculum, and state requirements.

After completing this program, nurses will understand how to perform various duties in this discipline adequately.

5. Become Certified

Becoming certified as an enterostomal therapy nurse provides numerous advantages.

For instance, it certifies that nurses receive extensive training and knowledge to perform their duties effectively.

As a result, they can earn more money, provide a broader scope of care and manage extra duties.

It also enables certified enterostomal therapy nurses to apply for jobs requiring extensive training.

The Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Board (WOCN) offer certifications for those who operate as ET nurses.

Some certifications include the CCCN, COCN, CWCN, CWON, and CWOCN.

ET Nurse Certifications:

  • CCCN: Certified Continence Care Nurse
  • COCN: Certified Ostomy Care Nurse
  • CWCN: Certified Wound Care Nurse
  • CWON: Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse
  • CWOCN: Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse

Each certificate ensures ET nurses can adequately manage various aspects of the wound, ostomy, and continence care.