A visit to blow my ‘red stockings’ off

Ms Alison Kennedy1
1Sydney Childrens Hospital, Coogee, Australia

The Cincinnati Reds (red stockings) are an American professional baseball team based in Cincinnati. The city and its residents are very proud and passionate about their team.

Another ‘institution’ the Cincinnatians are proud and passionate about is their children’s hospital. It is rated number 2 in the USA and has a worldwide reputation for excellence in many disciplines including paediatric colorectal surgery and bowel management.

I was very fortunate to be awarded a scholarship which allowed me to travel to Cincinnati and attend a colorectal nursing workshop hosted by the hospital and participate in their bowel management programme over a two week period.

The nursing workshop was held over three days, and attracted sixty nurses from all over the USA. The topics under discussion were all related to congenital bowel conditions such as Hirschsprung Disease and Ano-rectal malformations and the presentations included anatomy, surgical techniques used, colonic motility, bladder involvement, gynaecology, ostomy care, nutritional aspects, psychology and home care/ school integration.

The bowel management programme has patients attend from all corners of the world and is run as an outpatient service. Participants mainly have faecal incontinence who have failed previous attempts achieving continence. They attend the hospital on day one (orientation) of the programme and meet the team. A management plan is agreed, they are provided with bowel diaries and instructions to follow.  Daily abdominal x-ray and communication with the team follows and treatment/ management updates are given.

This presentation will provide a snap shot of my educational visit, what I learned and how it affected my practice.


Alison works at Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick, NSW. She is a paediatric nurse whose clinical practice spans over three decades working within the surgical discipline. Since emigrating to Australia sixteen years ago her role has entailed caring for children who have surgically created ‘holes’ such as gastrostomies, jejunostomies and caecostomies. In 2012 she took the plunge and commenced a post graduate certificate in Stomal Therapy Nursing and her CNC position was expanded to the role of STN on completion. She is now referred to as the poo nurse but does not find that insulting in the least  🙂