My Scope of Practice: Assimilating History and Industry into Patient Care
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Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. The only failure is not to try. — Unknown
Did you know that more than 5,000 years ago, ancient cultures used onion stems and reeds for intermittent catheterization? Or that pomegranates were used in the Middle Ages as pessaries to hold a prolapsed uterus in place?
For Margaret Willson, MSN, RN, CWOCN, these facts serve as a reminder that no matter how accomplished one becomes, there is always something new to learn, because managing continence care is always evolving. “The more you know, the more you don’t know. Learning is a lifelong work in progress,” Midge, as her friends call her, says.
Midge’s devotion to life-long learning started at Columbia Hospital School of Nursing (1980) and Carroll College (1989), where she pursued a bachelor’s degree in nursing. The lure of advanced knowledge and always wanting to improve in practice led her to Marquette University, where she earned her MSN in 1999. She completed Enterostomal Therapy (WOCN) education at Abbott Northwestern in 1984, and since 1985, Midge has been a Certified Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse.
Through interactions and collaboration with administration and urology medical staff, Midge developed a continence clinic at Columbia St. Mary’s Hospital in Milwaukee where she began her career. The clinic specialized in biofeedback and e-stimulation for pelvic floor muscle training and strengthening. After working in a clinical in- and outpatient practice; developing programs; teaching patients, nurses, and physicians; and working with wound, ostomy, and continence product development and evaluation for 27 years, Midge made the change to the industry side of healthcare. She hoped the new role would allow her to make education a primary responsibility in her work.
Currently, Midge is employed as a manager of clinical and marketing education for Hollister Incorporated (Libertyville, IL), where she is responsible for high-level corporate training for the products the company manufactures and the patients who use them. Her focus is mainly on education and products for persons with a neurogenic bladder — ie, people who lack bladder control due to a brain or nerve condition. She trains people on products such as external male catheters and intermittent bladder catheters; straight, closed-system catheters; and external urinary pouches. Midge’s work mainly involves patients with spinal cord injury and spina bifida.
“After so many years immersed in the clinical world and project development, it was a big change and challenge moving to industry — learning and enhancing my business acumen and still realizing I am able to impact patient care,” she says.
Midge also interfaces with nurses and patients regarding clinical concerns. As a collaborative member of the research and new product development team, Midge infuses her inside knowledge of clinical practice needs with new product development. She hopes that through this position she is able to proliferate the company’s products, programs, and services, ultimately helping more patients and clinicians in their care of these patients.
“I especially like the opportunity to work with clinicians and patients to help understand what we (the company) do well and what can be improved upon — even invented — to make products, programs, and services the best they can be,” Midge says.