The importance of the ward nurse’s role in patient education following stoma surgery

Tracey A. Newcombe1

1ISLHD Ambulatory and Primary Health Care, Nowra Community Health Centre, 5-7 Lawrence Avenue, Nowra, NSW, 2541.  Email:

Stomal surgery has both a physical and psychosocial impact on the patient. Ward nurses have a vital role in assisting the patient with a new stoma to adjust physically and emotionally, yet, in the author’s experience, they often underestimate the significance of their nursing care to the patient’s recovery. This presentation aims to explore the ward nurse’s role in the care of the new stoma patient, identifying the benefits to both patient and nurse of patient empowerment, and the reasons why this is sometimes ignored or de-emphasised in the nurse’s care of the patient.

Key Words

Stoma, Education, Empowerment



Tracey has a background in nursing education as well as stomal therapy and wound management. She has worked in the Ambulatory Care sector for the last nine years as a Stomal Therapy CNC, as well as continuing part-time as a nurse educator. She has a special interest in Hirschsprung’s disease and has co-authored a handbook for families of children with this disorder.

Anorectal malformation – a baby’s journey to a new functioning anus

Charmaine (Chary) Richards1

1Clinical Nurse Consultant – Stomal Therapy



Anorectal Malformations (ARM) are defects of the anus and rectum. The defects can be of varying degrees and may also involve nearby anatomical structures.

Anorectal malformations occur in 1:5000 live births, and the incidence is slightly more common in males.

Diagnosis may be made through physical examination of the baby at birth to determine the presence of a patent anus and rectum. Meconium passed in the first days indicates an opening but does not necessary denote a proper anus. I will discuss the classifications and diagnostic tests performed to evaluate the abnormalities.

All ARMs are different and the care journey is complex. It encapsulates the joy of a baby’s birth followed by the uncertainty and enormity of the diagnosis and impact of the procedures on the lives of the family members in their baby’s first year of life.

My oral presentation will follow the journey from diagnosis to achieving a functioning anus. This journey includes acceptance and education of a faecal diversion. It will highlight the day to day procedures parents are asked to perform to help their baby pass stools effectively from a new surgically created anus.

It will also outline procedures and common problems the baby will face in a clinical environment. This case study will also illustrate the impact on the parents with regards to body perception, ongoing care and social implications of a rarely discussed and poorly understood condition.

The baby’s 1st year of care with ARM is complex and at times challenging for clinicians and families but also rewarding.


Charmaine is a Clinical Nurse Consultant for Stomal Therapy at the children’s Hospital at Westmead.



This conference is proudly hosted by the Australian Association of Stomal Therapy Nurses:

One of the Association's major objectives is the promotion of quality care for a wide range of people with specific needs. These needs may be related to ostomy construction, urinary or faecal incontinence, wounds with or without tube insertion and breast surgery.

Patients/clients across the life span are provided with preventative, acute, rehabilitative and continuing care as required. Another objective is the maintenance and improvement of professional standards in relation to Stomal Therapy Nursing Practice to the highest degree possible. Recognition of the need for and encouragement of the development of specialist expertise in the field of Stomal Therapy Nursing underpins the Standards for Stomal Therapy Nursing Practice.

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