Why stomal therapy nurses need to broaden their scope of practice for the sake of improved patient quality of life

Dr Vicky Patton

As new treatments develop stomaltherapy nurses are in an ideal position to assist patients with  bowel management methods even though they may be considered in the realm of continence. Stomaltherapy nurses understand bowel function, medications that alter bowel function and have the skills to counsel patients. This paper will examine the evidence behind sacral nerve stimulation, anterior resection syndrome, antegrade and retrograde colonic enemas and identify why our expert knowledge is pivotal in maintaining these patient’s quality of life.


Vicki has a background in stoma wound and continence nursing and has a particular interest in pelvic floor dysfunction. She completed her masters in research on management of antegrade colonic enemas via caecostomy in 2009 and then worked as a Clinical Nurse Consultant in a pelvic floor unit in Sydney for many years where she developed her skills in anorectal physiology and biofeedback. Vicki has worked within a multi-disciplinary team which focussed on disorders of defaecation including constipation, faecal incontinence, obstructed emptying and low anterior resection syndrome.

Vicki was awarded her PhD in early 2018 which examined the cost, treatment efficacy and the role of colonic dysmotility in faecal incontinence and constipation. She is currently undertaking a three year clinical research fellowship jointly funded by Edith Cowan University and Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital in Perth, WA.