Joan Walsh

Clinical Nurse Consultant, Urology, Continence & Stoma Therapy

Sutherland Hospital

“For patients who require bowel surgery, resulting in an artificial opening onto the abdomen, the role of a stoma therapist is about teaching them how to look after it and alleviating their anxieties. It’s a very privileged role, because you become very close to your patients.  I feel I have to work hard to help them through it, for them not to feel that I’m the terrible nurse who just comes in to teach them how look after ‘their bag’. It’s about helping them psychologically work through it too.

I also love educating nurses. There’s nothing nicer than an enthusiastic nurse, who wants to learn my specialties.

Recently, a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit told me she had met a patient of mine and he said to her; ‘Do you know I met Joan last week and she told me more in 10 minutes than I’ve learnt throughout my stoma life.’  He has had his stoma 12 years. So it’s lovely to be able to share new little tricks and new products they can try.”