Fueled by an aging population and increasing rates of chronic illness, the nationwide demand for evidence-based wound, ostomy, and continence care is at an all-time high. Continuing to reach new heights after more than 45 years in her field, Janice Beitz, professor and director of the Wound Ostomy Continence Nursing Education Program (WOCNEP) at the Rutgers School of Nursing–Camden, has been recognized by the Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nursing Society (WOCN) for her global leadership in science and practice.
Beitz was named an inaugural fellow of WOCN—the most prestigious honor awarded by the organization—for her research contributions to the science of WOC issues, which have improved quality of life and longevity for the growing population of individuals living with chronic illness. She is one of 12 fellows selected from a vast international applicant pool.
“Simply put, Dr. Beitz is unmatched in her contributions to the field. Her work seeded the evidence base for improved clinical practice across the nation and world,” said Donna Nickitas, dean of the School of Nursing–Camden. “This designation honors her indelible footprint on the field.”
As a wound, ostomy, and continence nurse, Beitz assists with the diagnosis and treatment of related disorders and provides tailored interventions, therapies, and preventative educational services. Her patients range from individuals experiencing pressure injuries and venous ulcers to surgical wounds related to colostomy, ileostomy, or incontinence challenges.
Much of Beitz's work involves the psychological aspects of wound care, such as helping patients navigate life with a colostomy bag for the first time. The conditions Beitz treats can have enormous effects on patients' quality of life, impacting daily tasks and causing significant discomfort.
“The role is immensely rewarding. Seeing patients' wounds heal, watching patients with a new ostomy achieve self-care through effective teaching, and promoting their dignity is very satisfying.”
Beitz’s vast research portfolio focuses on improving patient safety, outcomes, and health education experiences. She has authored and coauthored dozens of research publications that explore the physical and emotional complications of living with wound, ostomy, and continence needs. Her work laid the foundation of evidence-based care and pioneered algorithms that help providers prevent pressure ulcers and practice safer ostomy care through product selection, dressing selection, and topical therapy. Through international presentations, speaking engagements, and consultancy with health care systems, she is making this information available to clinicians worldwide.
A member of the WOCN Directors Group since 1998, Beitz has played a key role in growing the organization’s knowledge base and scholarly network. She has held several leadership positions, including service to WOCN’s Quality Indicator Task Force and the Center for Clinical Investigation, where she helped effect policy changes that improved care and secured funding for the organization’s research endeavors. Most recently, she was named deputy editor of the Journal of Wound Ostomy & Continence Nursing.
Of her many accomplishments, Beitz said she is most proud to have founded the WOCNEP program at Rutgers–Camden, the only graduate-level wound, ostomy, and continence education program in the the world. She said the fellowship will give Rutgers–Camden students and faculty access to a rich well of ideas, connections, and resources to enhance the WOCNEP program.
“I am honored to receive this recognition," Beitz said. "It is a recognition of the decades-long activity in wound, ostomy, and continence education, practice, and research to which I have been passionately committed.”
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