Most people not in healthcare are probably thinking “what the heck is that?” We’ll tell you, but be forewarned this isn’t a career for the squeamish.
An enterostomy is an operation in which the surgeon cuts a passage into the patient’s small intestine, through the abdomen. The newly created opening allows for the drainage of fecal matter or to insert a feeding tube. This procedure is used mostly in emergency cases of severe abdomen wounds and diseases such as certain types of cancer and Crohn’s disease. The enterostomal therapist has to not only care for the stoma post surgery, but also educate patients on how to properly care for it beforehand. Patients cannot leave the hospital until they know how to properly care for themselves after the surgery, and until they learn, enterostomal therapists are in charge of cleaning and sanitizing the stoma for them.
They generally must have either an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, as well as earn certification as a nursing degree.