Dear Mideast Region Friends,

November is the perfect time to share thanks for all our blessings. While this has been a challenging year due to the unrelenting COVID-19 pandemic, we still have much to be thankful for and must continue sharing our resilience with those around us. Pivoting and being creative with what we are learning about this new virus has also opened new opportunities for research regarding COVID-19 manifestations, telehealth, and prevention of pressure injuries on healthcare workers using personal protective equipment.

I am proud and thankful to share in leadership with the MER board who each strive to serve you, our members. While our focus is on the region’s mission to promote educational, clinical, and research opportunities to advance our practice, we each are serving you and those in need with wound, ostomies, or continence issues. We rely on you to give us feedback. Please do not hesitate to connect with us via our Mideast Region website email @

Tim Larsen continues to serve as treasurer and Becky Smith was voted in as our new Secretary. Julia Colliflower was voted in as President-Elect. We also welcomed two new board members this fall. Michele Kessie is Director #2 overseeing awards, scholarships, and research. She previously served on the board as webmaster. Michelle Beck returns as Director #4, serving as Parliamentarian, overseeing nominations, elections, and governmental affairs. A special thanks to both for returning to serve again! We look forward to fresh ideas and achievement of new goals in these areas.

The newly formed Centralized Conference Planning Committee (CCPC) had a workout this year! While many of those on the committee were previous or current board members, the challenges were unique due to the Corona virus. The on-site location was cancelled, and brainstorming began. The CCPC led by co-chairs Laura Jerome and Terri Chandler were not daunted by the challenge but forged ahead to virtually serve our members. The CCPC also included Amy Hoenstine, Kacey Douglas, Sarah Colston, Chelsea Ross, Kate Zimnicki, Lisa Kirk, Beth Fangman, and Tim Luttrell. Mara Olson, from Smart Bee Social, assisted the conference behind the scenes while focusing on the details of running the platform. The on-demand virtual conference was a great success! We set a record attendance of 272 signing up for the conference! While we gifted our membership of 6.08 contact hours, we were unable to use the conference as the financial padding to our budget, as done in the past. We are evaluating and reviewing how we can improve on this in the future. Be sure to watch for innovative and creative plans for the 2021 conference. Also, if you would like to be more involved in this committee, please let us know via our Mideast Region email.

While counting our blessings, I cannot forget to mention our vendors who contributed to our virtual conference. Also, Kurt Vetters, from Ehob, was able to give the Jeff Bisch Scholarship again this year. Congratulations to Dedra Arch at Cleveland Clinic, Ohio and to Michelle Woodall from Hancock Regional Hospital, Indiana. The region was supported by all who were part of the first virtual conference and proud to share the Manufacturer of the Year award to Geralyn Lloyd with Coloplast and Frank Maroni from Hollister. Please stay connected with your vendors and encourage them to return for our upcoming 2021 conference in Noblesville, Indiana.

Our region has been blessed with countless talented nurses. The Shining Star Award was given to Dedra Arch and poster awards were given to Jodi Steinbreiner and Kate Zimnicki. Three awards were given to nurses who have dedicated years to wound, ostomy, continence (WOC) nursing and they include: Lifetime Achievement Award to Barbara Hosavare from Ohio, WOC Nurse of the Year Award to Catherine Clary Sanford from Michigan, and the Professional Educator of the Year Award to Kate Zimnicki, also from Michigan. Congratulations to each of these devoted WOC nurses!

Several of the speakers at the conference are from our region. Many graciously donated their honorariums to the MER. We are truly blessed with many talented and giving individual nurses who are giants in our region and WOCN Society. Please join me in thanking all the speakers, vendors, CCPC and board for their hard work in gifting you, our members with the first ever on demand conference. And, a special thank you goes to Linda Stricker, our past President, who led us through figuring out the
conference challenges and prepared educational sessions along with the contact hours. Check it out on the MER website if you have not done so yet!

December is a month of joy and hope for the future. While many of you may feel tired and overworked, we must not grow weary in well doing. I encourage you to continue to check in with one another and share a word of encouragement to make your fellow WOC nurse’s day– or any nurse or healthcare worker you engage. As leaders, staying positive and listening to the needs around us helps to build empathy and awareness of needs. While 2020 may be the Year of the Nurse, we know our calling and it does not end this year. As we look forward to 2021 and beyond, I encourage you to continue to share your positivity and focus for the future. Thank you for all you do –and may you be blessed in the days ahead, just as you have blessed so many lives in your work and daily living!

Warm regards and Christmas blessings to you and yours,

Deb Crawford
President, Mideast Region of the WOCN®