Problem: There is a great deal of adjunctive information to be covered in addition to the pouch change. And although written materials are helpful for teaching new ostomy patients and their families, most of our communication is verbal. Many teaching opportunities occur while providing cares and when we communicate orally: we can assess learners' needs, provide information, answer questions, and evaluate learner comprehension. Effective, efficient education is critical, but with so much information to cover and many patient questions, it is so easy to get off track that we may forget to address a key concept.
Objective: To develop a mnemonic cue to: a) help clinicians organize their verbal education of new ostomy patients and b) help patients and their families remember core concepts.
Method: Alphabet mnemonics are commonly used by clinicians in other fields to “tickle” their memories (e.g. Basic Life Support's ABCs; Trauma's ABCs). A review of the WOCN Core Curriculum suggested ten common concepts that could be alphabetized: Activity, Bathing, Clothing, Diet, Exercise, Follow-up, Gas, Home Care, Intimacy and Just ask me questions!
Outcome: 8 WOC nurses and 10 staff nurses reviewed the mnemonic and found it easy or somewhat easy to use. The WOC nurses felt it would have helped to learn this in school. The staff nurses felt it would be most helpful to them to have it in printed form. Patients and families can use the mnemonic to remember key concepts, explain their situation to others, and organize their questions for their healthcare providers. This verbal “tickler” may also find a new life in written form: as a small A-J pocket card and poster for the clinician, help in organizing the clinician's charting and can be incorporated into written patient teaching materials.
Carmel, J. E. & Goldberg, M. T. (2004). Preoperative and Postoperative Management. In Colwell, J. C., Goldberg, M. T., & Carmel, J. E. (Eds.) Fecal & Urinary Diversions: Management Principles. St. Louis, Missouri: Mosby, Inc. pp. 230-235.
O'Shea, Helen S. (2001) Teaching the Adult Ostomy Patient. Journal of Wound, Ostomy & Continence Nursing. 28(1):47-54.