In comparison to other conferences we have attended, the WCET conference did not have a concentrated focus on clinical issues; rather it highlighted both professional and clinical issues faced among Enterostomal Therapists and persons with an ostomy worldwide. Again we were reminded of the abundance of resources so easily available to the province of Manitoba that are so often taken for granted. For example, a community ET Nurse working in a poverty-stricken Bangkok, demonstrated how to adapt a plastic milk jug into an ostomy appliance using a plastic luncheon bag and elastic!
We had the opportunity to meet with ET Nurses from many different countries to discuss their practices and the resources available to their clients. Many countries do not even recognize Enterostomal Therapy as a specialty area of nursing and therefore provide little assistance, both professional and financial, to those persons with an ostomy. In Chile, there is only one ET Nurse available for consultation. Persons with an ostomy will pay approximately $5.00 for one pouch and the average monthly salary in Chile is $200. Other financial considerations are that most families in Chile support 4 children as well. Needless to say, there are a great number of peristomal skin problems reported as pouches are changed very infrequently due to costs.
We were very proud to represent the province of Manitoba and the ostomy program. Our presentation was entitled ''Manitoba Ostomy Program - Collaboration in Action". The presentation fell into the learning category of Quality Assurance. Those attending our lecture were given a description of how the program functions and how every person with an ostomy in Manitoba has access to ET Nursing consultation and financial assistance to purchase ostomy supplies. The emphasis on the quality assurance of the program, focused on the monitoring of ostomy supplies distributed from the distribution agency and how the ET Nurses are available province wide for consultation. The presentation was very well received and numerous questions were addressed to us after the presentation. Since returning home, we have even had email contact with other ET Nurses overseas! We hope we were able to provide others with information on how a provincial ostomy program functions effectively which can then be adapted into their practice.
We also had the opportunity to do some site seeing in Singapore, Bali and Bangkok. It was a real cultural experience that opened our eyes to the many different ways of life. There were so many highlights of our trip that have changed us personally as we have come to understand and appreciate many things so differently.
We would like to thank the Winnipeg Ostomy Association, Victorian Order of Nurses, Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, Hollister, Convatec, Coloplast and our fellow ET Colleagues for their support and encouragement to attend this conference.
Karen Spencer RN BN ET Gay Hordienko RN BN ET