Britney Butt believes she's in her chosen profession as a nurse specializing in wound and ostomy care. She describes herself as a “fixer” and is grateful that her work gives her so much satisfaction.
Britney is part of the Colorectal Cancer Program team at North York General Hospital (NYGH). In her role as a Clinical Nurse Specialist, she cares for patients who require a stoma — an opening in the abdomen that allows feces or urine to pass. Britney teaches patients how to care for their stoma and change their ostomy pouches, which collect these body fluids.
For most patients, learning that they have colorectal cancer, need surgery and will have a stoma is a lot to process.
“It's a lot of take in and I know that part of my role is to help people recover from the shock by acknowledging they are going through major life changes and letting them know that I am here for them every step of the way,” says Britney. “Many patients experience feeling a loss of independence and self-image — but they soon find out that they are just a few small steps away from gaining it all back.”
Britney takes time getting to know her patients. She finds out what they enjoyed doing before their surgery and stoma, then works with them to create a plan to resume these activities.
NYGH provides outpatient wound and ostomy care for patients as part of our comprehensive approach. Britney meets with patients before surgery and then again on the inpatient unit during their recovery. Two weeks after surgery, she will see them in the clinic which provides patients with a continuation of the care they received in hospital. She is open to all questions, including those personal ones such as having sex and managing a stoma.
“Most patients don't have access to the wound and ostomy care that we provide here at North York General,” says Britney. “Patients appreciate getting to know the people who are part of their care team and the consistent follow-up care they will receive.”
In addition to having a wound and ostomy nurse, the NYGH Colorectal Cancer Program also has a nurse navigator to guide patients and families through their entire cancer journey. With some of the shortest wait times in the province for surgery and a dedicated colorectal survivorship program, our patients always have someone they can call when they have questions or concerns.
Learn more about NYGH's colorectal cancer program.
This article first appeared in the May 2019 issue of The Pulse.
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