Enterostomy Therapy Nurse

What Is an Enterostomy Therapy Nurse?

Enterostomy Therapy nurses, also referred to as ET or stoma nurses, are registered nurses who specialize in the management and care of patients with urinary and fecal diversions and/or incontinence. These nurses assist physicians in performing ostomies and help patients to continually care for them after the procedure has been performed. It's common for ET nurses to make house calls, especially following surgeries, to help patients with cleaning or troubleshooting a malfunctioning ostomy device, caring for skin infections near the ostomy, and helping to alleviate the pain that's often caused by the ostomies.

What Are Some Enterostomy Therapy Nurse Duties?

Common duties that ET nurses are tasked with may include:

  • Ensure patients are properly cared for before, during, and after enterostomy surgical procedures
  • Determine optimal place for a stoma
  • Prepare the patients who require enterostomy procedures
  • Following surgical procedures, educate patients and their loved ones on the correct methods to care for an ostomy
  • Clean and change ostomy appliances as needed
  • Act as a source of information about ostomy appliances and supplies for patients and loved ones
  • Help patients manage their pain
  • Assist patients with the first few ostomy appliance changes
  • Provide guidance on the various lifestyle changes and diets that can help to maintain ostomy health
  • Treat complications that may arise such as blockages, fistula, skin irritation and others

Where Do Enterostomy Therapy Nurses Work?

ET nurses are generally found wherever ostomy procedures and maintenance are performed. This can include:

  • Hospitals
  • Private healthcare facilities
  • Physician offices
  • Home health
  • Assisted living facilities
  • Hospice
  • Long-term care facilities

How to Become an Enterostomy Therapy Nurse

Becoming an enterostomy therapy nurse means first earning an appropriate degree and becoming licensed as an RN. Although eligibility requirements will vary from certification to certification, most enterostomy therapy certifications - and there are many - will require you to complete at least 50 hours of experience and/or a Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Education Program. Additional experience in the field is also recommended.

Step 1: Educational Requirements

To become an enterostomy therapy nurse, the following educational requirements must be met:

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from an accredited college or university
  • Pass the NCLEX-RN prelicensure exam
  • Hold an active and unrestricted RN license

* In some cases, ET nurses will have Master's or doctoral degrees

Do Enterostomy Therapy Nurses Need an RN Degree?

Yes, enterostomy therapy nurses are required to hold an active and unencumbered RN license. This means that they should hold an ADN or BSN degree, though BSN degrees are generally preferred by hospitals.

Step 2: Required Enterostomy Therapy Nurse Certifications/Credentials

Several certifications applicable to enterostomy therapy nurses can be gained via the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Certification Board (WOCNCB). They include:

  • Certified Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse (CWOCN)
  • Certified Wound Ostomy Nurse (CWON)
  • Certified Ostomy Care Nurse (COCN)
  • Certified Wound Care Nurse (CWCN)
  • Certified Continence Care Nurse (CCCN)
  • Certified Ostomy Care Nurse (COCN)

* Eligibility requirements for these certifications generally include holding a BSN degree or higher, holding an active an unrestricted RN license, having a specific amount of direct patient care hours, and having completed a certain number of pertinent continuing education hours.

Enterostomy Therapy Nurse Jobs, Salary & Employment

The highly specialized nature of this career compounded by technological advances in the field mean that ET nursing jobs won't be going away anytime soon.

Job Description & Information

  • Essential Skills Needed - Ability to anticipate the needs of patients, teamwork, leadership, ability to work well with hands, ability to maintain proper protocol, ability to provide and manage care under the direction of physicians and nursing management, strong communication skills, technical abilities, and problem-solving skills
  • Job Outlook - The job outlook for anyone who's working in the nursing field is especially good - including nurses in the ET specialty. In fact, the BLS has projected that the number of available nursing jobs will grow by 16 percent through the year 2026.

What Is the Average Salary of an Enterostomy Therapy Nurse?

According to PayScale, the average yearly salary for wound care nurses is approximately $67,975. On top of their base annual salaries, ET nurses usually receive employee benefits packages which include generous medical insurance coverage as well as yearly allotments of sick leave and/or paid time off, retirement plans, and sometimes life insurance options. Salaries and the contents of benefits packages will vary based on city, state, and employer. Additional factors that will influence how much an ET nurse can make include educational levels, the clinical experience, and certifications held.

How Much Do Enterostomy Therapy Nurses Make per Year?

  • $49,000 – $95,000 annually

How Much Do Enterostomy Therapy Nurses Make per Hour?

  • $28.59 average hourly wage

Enterostomy Therapy Nurse Resources