Medela Donates $15,000 to Fund the Future Education of WOC Nurses

McHenry, IL - Medela Healthcare asked wound, ostomy and continence nurses (WOC Nurses) from across the country to share their stories at the WOCNext Conference 2019. Medela’s collaboration with the WOC Nurse community is in effort to raise money, increase awareness and support nurses interested in entering this unique field of healthcare. For every story that was shared, Medela made a donation to Fund the Future. This campaign raised $15,000, enough for six fully-funded scholarships for nurses wishing to attend a WOCN Education Program.

Sandra Fasing, Ashlee Garcia, Mary Mahoney, Swann Waterhouse, and Denise Ferrell are experts in the field and came on camera to share how being a WOC Nurse creates so many opportunities, comes with a built-in support system and is an incredibly rewarding career.

The journey of a WOC Nurse:

"You're no longer a generalist, you are an expert and the more you into it you get the more of an expert you become."

Sandra Fasing has been a WOC Nurse since 1983 and loves the fact that WOC is a specialty that does a great job with training. The intensive training that WOC Nurses go through leaves them experts in their practice rather than generalists. They are able to be impactful team members right out of certification.

“When you step out of it you don't have to have a master’s degree to be an independent practitioner. For any new student, I know it's a rigorous program but it works, and when you get out of it and you have total command of the principles of your practice[...] you're no longer a generalist, you are an expert and the more you into it you get the more of an expert you become.” says Sandra.

Along with the power of proper training, Sandra feels that WOC Nurses share a closer connection to patients due to the physical closeness of wound care. Other people on a team look to WOC Nurses to dictate what the best patient care looks like.

Making a difference

"Just like nursing, you get to be with your patients on sometimes their worst day ever and assist them in their health goals."

As an experienced nurse, but newer to the specialty, Swann Waterhouse says being a WOC Nurse is an incredibly rewarding experience.

“Just like nursing, you get to be with your patients on sometimes their worst day ever and assist them in their health goals. Ostomy patients are a great example of how rewarding it is to help a patient through a life-saving or life-preserving surgery. [Whether] we've prolonged life or given them a higher quality of life through a horrible diagnosis [...] either way, you've been a part of a special moment with a patient.”

Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurses are registered nurses that specialize in caring for patients with wounds, ostomies, and continence disorders. WOC Nurses primarily offer direct patient care, consultations, as well as staff and patient education. Recommendations for care management are evidence-based, cost-effective, and individualized for the specific patient situations.

The best thing about being a WOC Nurse:

For Ashlee Garcia, an Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner and CWOCN, the best thing about being a WOC Nurse is educating others. She loves educating patients and their families, as well as the nursing staff that helps handle wound and ostomy patients. Ashlee assures future nurses, “The sky's the limit. With [a WOC career] you can travel, you can reach everyone and you have an opportunity to do many many things. [...] There's so many things to be learned still, so there are lots of research opportunities.” Ashlee provides education in the treatment and preventative care of many types of complex wounds so that skilled nursing staff can be informed partners in a team-based model of wound care delivery. She sees every day and every interaction as an opportunity to teach.

Access to an invaluable community:

Denise Ferrell began her medical career as a nurse’s assistant before moving through different departments. She now works as a WOC Nurse in home care with the families of her patients to ensure everyone understands what is happening. Denise is a big supporter of interdepartmental rounds where everyone treating a patient can come together to discuss the patient as a whole, allowing WOC Nurses and bedside nurses to cross-train in different areas of care. She says, “it enriches your knowledge base and then you have such a strong support system.”  She enjoys being a part of such a cohesive team that comes together to help a patient.

Funding the Future of WOC Nurses

“I’m so happy to be here at this year’s conference and to thank Medela for sponsoring the Fund the Future program.”

—Carol Bower, chair of the WOCN Society Scholarship Committee

Mary Mahoney, a WOC Nurse from Des Moines, IA says she never pictured herself as a nurse, but as she progressed through her early nursing career, she developed a particular passion for helping people with chronic wounds. She gushes, “It's a wonderful field. It's been very rewarding and I encourage everyone to go into it.”

After ten years of providing direct care and educating others in acute care, Mary switched to in-home consulting. Now, as an educator, Mary trains staff at a home care facility and teaches other young nurses about the valuable role of the WOC Nurse.

“Fund the Future has advanced the education of so many of our nurses,” said Bower. “We’ve had a lot of great applicants coming through the scholarship program [...] and I’m here to tell you that it makes a huge difference for so many people who maybe couldn’t make their vision to be a WOC Nurse without a scholarship.”

Medela is excited to continue partnering with the WOC Nursing community at this year’s WOCNext Conference. WOCNext 2020 will continue raising awareness and funding for WOC Nurses by providing attendees with more interactive sessions and varied educational formats to increased product knowledge and enrich networking opportunities in the WOCN community.

Partnership Medela WOCN

Stephanie Yates, MSN, RN, ANP-BC, CWOCN, President, WOCN Society and Nicolette Zuecca, MPA, CAE Chief Staff Executive, WOCN Society

Relevant Links for more information:

Medela Healthcare is a global manufacturer of medical vacuum solutions trusted by healthcare professionals around the world.

We exist to make life easier and improve outcomes for healthcare professionals and patients through the innovative use of medical vacuum technology thanks to continued research, innovation and the evaluation of customer's needs.

For more information, please visit

If you would like more information on this topic please contact Ashley Bonnes