Experience of working with a stoma

Experience of working with a stoma

In Feb 2018 I started as an Auxiliary Nurse in my local hospital, this was a big deal for me as I had applied for nursing courses at Queens University Belfast. I was doing three to four 12 hour shifts a week, I found myself comfortable coming to work and my ileostomy was no different than any other day once I got settled in. I had worked in 7 different wards but not once did I mention I had a stoma.

Not that I was ashamed that I had one or embarrassed about it but I stupidly felt that people would judge me!! I was asked once what nursing you would like to do I replied “Adult nursing and then specialised as a Stoma nurse” their reply was ‘God, why would you want to do that? My face was getting redder and redder within seconds. I just casually said because I have one and the person apologised and explained his reaction. Let’s just say the person is well educated in stomas now ahaha.

Since April I have worked in Endoscopy unit, my first day was a weird day. I walked in the doors and turned right passed reception and went to the changing rooms with a member of staff. Never in a million years did I ever think I would be walking into Endoscopy as an Auxiliary and not as a patient.

Seeing your surgeons, GI consultants and IBD Nurse, speaking to them on a professional level, the nurses must have been wondering how I knew them. Little did they know…

After a few weeks I had no problem telling the staff at endo about my condition and that I had surgery and Ulcerative Colitis (which has now been upgraded). Some knew because they remembered me but didn’t mention it to me until I did to them it. It is a small world the way things turned out for me.

I have met amazing nurses in endoscopy having worked with them and been under their care when having procedures done. I think that’s why it has been so easy for me to open up about my invisible illness because they work with GI consultants and have a great understanding of it all.  I had a leak one day in work I was so embarrassed went to the changing room got my bag and went to the nurse in charge and said my stoma bag has leaked and have to go sort myself out. The sister was so discrete about it and said no problem and told the staff I was doing a message for her. That level of respect and dignity I got really made me feel comfortable to work in Endoscopy.

It’s the little things right

Everything in life isn’t plane sailing people may not think or react the way you do. I had two opposite experiences one from negative to amazing. You never get the good without the bad in life.

I think it also helps that I have made great friends and that I ……………….