Rutgers-Camden Nursing Professor Develops Algorithms to Find Best Practices for Wound, Ostomy and Continence Care

Rutgers-Camden Nursing Professor Develops Algorithms to Find Best Practices for Wound, Ostomy and Continence Care



Janice Beitz

Rutgers-Camden nursing professor Janice Beitz is a nurse practitioner and a specialist in wound, ostomy, and continence care nursing.

CAMDEN — Many
people diagnosed with colon cancer or bladder cancer require an ostomy — a
surgical procedure in which an opening is created on the abdomen for the
discharge of body waste. It is estimated that between 500,000 and 800,000 Americans are living with an ostomy.

Those
patients may not be receiving the most effective patient care. 

 Janice Beitz, a professor at the Rutgers
School of Nursing–Camden, says the best evidence-based practices aren’t always
applied to wound, ostomy, and continence care.  
The Rutgers–Camden nursing scholar is working to correct that situation.

 “It’s our role as care providers to protect
the patient as best we can, but what we know theoretically and what happens in
the real world sometimes doesn’t connect,” says Beitz, a nurse practitioner and
clinical specialist in wound, ostomy, and continence care nursing.

Beitz has
dedicated her research to developing algorithms to determine the best practices
for ostomy care and building a model that advises medical professionals on the
appropriate device (or pouch) for ostomy patients.

“Given the
aging population and the aging South Jersey population in particular, more and
more people are developing medical conditions that require an ostomy,” Beitz
says.

Furthermore,
New Jersey has a high rate of colorectal cancer, according to the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention and the New Jersey Department of Health and
Senior Services, and many of those patients require an ostomy.

That is why
proper ostomy care is more critical than ever.

“We want the
patient to experience minimal or no complications because the appropriate
device is being used,” Beitz says. “Every patient is different and we want to
create the blueprint for choosing the safest and best product.”

Beitz is also
developing algorithms to determine how to best prevent pressure ulcers (bed sores),
which occur when patients become bedridden, and is working to find the best
technology to use for negative pressure wound therapy, which helps to heal
acute or chronic wounds.

In an article
published in Ostomy Wound Management in
April 2012 and co-authored by Lia van Rijswijk, an assistant professor of nursing
at Holy Family University School of Nursing and Health Professions, Beitz states
that most negative pressure wound therapy guidelines that have been developed
for specific wounds are based on expert consensus, but have not been validated.

“There is a
high risk for medical errors or mistakes in the care of these patients and one
way to reduce the risk is to develop the science underlying the care nurses
provide to patients,” she says. “Everything I do is to improve patient care.
That’s the bottom line for me. Otherwise, it would just be a mental exercise if
it didn’t matter in the real world.”

She
continues, “The whole movement in healthcare now must be toward evidence-based
practice. As a nation, we can’t afford to not do it that way. We only have so
many resources to provide healthcare for people.”

A Cherry Hill
resident and Philadelphia native, Beitz joined the Rutgers–Camden nursing
faculty in 2012 after teaching at La Salle University.

She has
co-authored more than 25 research publications and more than 75 articles in
refereed nursing and interdisciplinary journals. She also co-authored multiple
book chapters and one book.

Beitz
received her bachelor’s degree from La Salle University, her master’s degree
from Villanova University, and her doctoral degree from Temple University. She
also graduated from the Germantown Hospital School of Nursing and received her
post master’s certificate from La Salle University.

Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse
(856) 225-6759
E-mail: ejmoor@camden.rutgers.edu