Making the connection; enabling person centred care through facilitation and consumer involvement.

Mrs Julia Kittscha1, Mrs  Brenda Christiansen1, Ms Helen  Richards2
1Illawarra Shoalhaven Local Health District, Wollongong, Australia, 2Wollongong Private Hospital, Wollongong, Australia

Stoma education for nurses across the continuum is an essential part of the stomal therapy nurse’s role. Intentions are to help the nurse understand the care of someone with a stoma and enable them to provide nursing care and education in a person centred way. The author found that traditional educational methods became repetitive with unknown or absent outcomes in terms of clinical care.

This paper will present the processes and evaluation tools the authors used to transform their staff education program by replacing teaching with a more facilitative learning model. This was presented through a partnership of people living with a stoma and the clinical experts. The process involved the facilitators taking a risk by allowing the staff to identify their learning needs and not pre-empting the program. Nursing staff were asked to put themselves in the position of the patient (metaphorically) and troubleshoot peristomal skin complications by drawing on their own knowledge in an interactive session allowing group learning from each other. Learning from those that know, brought eight consumers to the learning environment rotating through small groups of nurses using a semi-structured interview technique to answer questions in regards to living with a stoma. An inquisitive mind was all that was needed, and the room was abuzz with conversation.

Evaluation from staff brought about unexpected outcomes of increased empathy and confidence to ‘have a go’ when faced with helping a person care for their stoma.  Staff reported being more person centred as a result of participating due to a deeper understanding of what it is like to live with a stoma. Following on from the education were improved clinical outcomes which have been sustained evident through feedback from consumers and staff alike.


Julia Kittscha has been a Clinical Nurse Consultant in Stomal Therapy for 20 years. Her current role at Wollongong Hospital in NSW Australia encompasses the acute setting, nurse led clinic, periphery hospitals and community. She is passionate about Stomal Therapy Nursing and relishes sharing her skills to empower others.