Raising awareness: ‘but you don't look like you have a stoma…’
A significant number of people in the UK live with a stoma. Katy Jensen explains why it is important for nurses to have good knowledge of this topic in order to support their patients
I'm Katy, a 34-year-old student who is in my 3rd and final year of my MSc course in nursing and health sciences. I have a passion for community and colorectal nursing and raising awareness of inflammatory bowel disease and ostomies.
Diagnosed with Crohn's disease at 25, I spent many years battling with the condition before improving my quality of life and undergoing a subtotal colectomy and ileostomy formation in 2017. The following year my very own nursing journey began, inspired by the outstanding care and support I received during my hospital stays but also spurred on by the negative attitudes and pitying eyes I experienced following my surgery too, with an ambition to make a difference.
I have always been honest and open about my condition and my stoma, yet I have encountered many negative perceptions, bewildered and commiserative looks. I am not embarrassed or ashamed of my ostomy, in fact quite the opposite, therefore I always find it puzzling that other health professionals are. Although I feel I may have the answer, the distinct lack of education and information that is provided through cohorts and nurse-led programmes on ostomy care is sparse and often insufficient.
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