MAR - spotlight on our members


News about our Members

Tara Beuscher receives 2016 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award
Joan Selekof retirement
In Memory of Jean W. Fitzgerald, RN, CETN
Sue Currence retirement
Joanne Walker, RN, MS, CWOCN recognized
C. Tod Brindle receives the prestigious American Nurses Credentialing Center’s
National Magnet Nurse of the Year Award for 2013
Harriet Pilert was honored at the WOCN conference
VCU’s Wound Care Team Celebrates WOCN Week 2012
Judy Stasuk wins Culture of Excellence Award

Tara BeuscherTara Beuscher, Blue Ridge Affiliate, received the 2016 March of Dimes Nurse of the
Year Award in the category of Long Term Acute Care, largely for the work done to obtain our Joint Commission Wound Care Certification. 

Long Term Acute Care/Long Term Rehab: Tara Beuscher, University of Virginia Health System

The March of Dimes wishes to congratulate all the finalists in the category of Long Term Acute Care/Long Term Rehab. This year, the winner of the Nurse of the Year 2016 goes to Tara Beuscher from the University of Virginia Health System.

Dr. Beuscher is the Director of Clinical Operations in long-term acute care. She was promoted to this position after she developed a program which has led to the Transitional Care Hospital becoming the first Joint Commission certified center of excellence for wound care in Virginia (June 23, 2016). This included adopting WOCN's Wound Treatment Associate program for our hospital. We have opened our program to educate professionals from other areas including local hospitals, rehab hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and clinics. Over 40% of the clinical staff has taken the program. They have also opened this up to other disciplines and have obtained American Association of Respiratory Care credit for our Respiratory Therapists who complete the WTA program. This was the first unit of its kind.

She earned the 2015 Manuscript of the Year Award from the Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing. She says she is most proud of the interest of her team and their ability to become certified. Please join us in congratulating Tara Beuscher.

Joan SelekofJoan Selekof, BSN, RN, CWOCN retires

Joan Selekof, member of the Baltimore affiliate and past president of the MAR WOCN, retired from the University of Maryland Medical Center on December 30, 2015 after 39 years of service!  

The Mid Atlantic Region appreciates your commitment to providing excellent patient care
and support to the region. Best wishes to you in your retirement Joan!!

In Memory of Jean W. Fitzgerald, RN, CETN

Jean FitzgeraldWe recently learned of the passing of Jean W. Fitzgerald, RN, CETN, Past President of the Mid-Atlantic Region (1980-84) and Past Secretary of IAET, now WOCN.  Jean died peacefully at age 91, after a long illness.  

Jean was originally from Massachusetts, completing her nurses training at Massachusetts General Hospital.  She was a world traveler, along with her perfect soulmate and husband of 55 years, John, whom many of us knew also.  They lived in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, India, Michigan, and finally Delaware.  

Jean attended ET School at Ferguson Droste Hospital and Clinic in Grand Rapids, Michigan, establishing the first hospital-based ET nursing practice in Michigan with third- party reimbursement for services.  Upon moving to Delaware in the mid 70’s, she again, pioneered ET Nursing at Wilmington Medical Center. 

Jean was one of the original members of the Mid-Atlantic Region, when it was sanctioned by the IAET to become a separate region in 1976 and was actively involved in the region from the beginning….serving as the first Treasurer of the region, designed the first logo and banner for the region, served as Vice President and then regional President for two terms, was a member of the IAET House of Delegates and served two terms as Secretary of the IAET.

Jean worked at Wilmington Medical Center as their first ET nurse, commuting 2 hours daily, from Dover, Delaware to her job.  She covered 5 facilities under the medical center’s umbrella, seeing ostomy patients of all ages.

As one of the early ET practitioners, Jean was considered an expert in our growing specialty.  She was active in the IAET and WCET, and was known nationally and internationally, sharing her knowledge and expertise in ostomy and wound care around the world.  Jean was a wonderful person, serving as a teacher, collaborator, mentor, counselor, lecturer, superb clinician, innovator and friend.   She was sought out by manufacturers of ostomy products for her expert input regarding product development.

Most likely, there are technics and devices that we use daily in our practice that Jean either presented at a conference or symposium or collaborated on,  that are now incorporated into our standard practice, and  don't think anything of it.

For those who knew Jean on a more personal level, her “fun passions” were her family, gardening, baking, and doing beautiful cross-stitch.   She was an amazing woman and nurse, who touched many lives.  She will be truly missed.

Harriet Pilert, MS, RN, COCN   

Sue CurrenceSue Currence, BSN, RN, CWON

Sue Currence from the Baltimore affiliate retired December 17,2014.
Mid Atlantic Region appreciates your commitment to providing excellent patient care
and support to the region.

Joanne WalkerJoanne Walker, RN, MS, CWOCN

The Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network recently highlighted Joanne Walker, RN, MS, CWOCN, Ostomy Nurse Specialist at The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins for all that she does for bladder cancer patients and their families!

Click to read more on their Facebook page:


Tod Brindle

Tod BrindleTod Brindle, certified wound ostomy continence nurse at the VCU Medical Center, is one of five nurses nationwide to receive the award, which recognizes outstanding contributions of clinical nurses for innovation, consultation, leadership and professional risk-taking. Brindle was chosen in the Exemplary Professional Practice category for his contributions of transformative ways to improve patient care quality. “This award was such an honor to receive, particularly as I think of the thousands of nurses across this country who provide such excellent care daily,” Brindle said. “What this award really represents is that, as a nurse, when you're supported in an environment such as at VCU – a Magnet® facility – your ideas can become the key to improved patient outcomes and serve to educate the interprofessional medical community.” (excerpt from the press release)

The Great Comebacks® Program presented Harriet Pilert, RN, MS, COCN with the WOC Nurse Great Comebacks® Award at the opening ceremony of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN®) Society™ 44th Annual Conference in Charlotte, NC.

Haririet Pilert, RN, MS, COCNThe Great Comebacks® Program annually honors outstanding individuals, including the specialist WOC nurses who inspire their patients to live life to the fullest after ostomy surgery.

Pilert is a WOC Nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, MD. The award recognizes Pilert for the exceptional care she has provided to Jenn Stahl, the 2011 Great Comebacks® East Region Award recipient, as well as many other patients and their families.

Stahl suffered with painful bouts of Crohn’s disease for 22 years and once said she “would rather die” than have ostomy surgery. In 2009 Stahl was told she no longer had a choice and was introduced to Pilert to help her through the surgery she had avoided for decades. “I had a very difficult time when my doctor said I had to have ostomy surgery. Harriet came in and told me it was OK to cry with her and that we would go on from there when I was ready.” She was so patient and understanding and her encouragement helped me to accept my new way of living and to focus on the benefits of ostomy surgery and better health,” said Ms. Stahl.

While in the hospital recovering, Pilert encouraged Stahl to put up a poster and fill it with all of the new things she would be able to do with her family that she hadn’t been able to do while she was sick. Now fully recovered, Stahl shares her story to provide encouragement to other patients of Pilert’s that need ostomy surgery. “Harriet is a source of comfort for all of her patients and takes important steps to help them both mentally and physically adjust to living with an ostomy. Great Comebacks® is honored to recognize her great work and the remarkable thoughtfulness and commitment of all ostomy nurses,” said Rolf Benirschke, founder and chairman, Great Comebacks® Program.

The Great Comebacks® Program is sponsored by ConvaTec, a world-leading developer and marketer of innovative medical technologies for community and hospital care, in partnership with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation (CCFA), the United Ostomy Associations of America, Inc. (UOAA), the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses (WOCN®) Society™ and the American Society of Colon and Rectal Surgeons (ASCRS). “Harriet Pilert is steadfast in her dedication to go above and beyond in her efforts to serve her patients. We are so pleased that she has been recognized with this honor from Great Comebacks®. She is a wonderful role model for the nurses in our field and a gift to the patients she serves,” said Kathleen Lawrence, MSN, RN, CWOCN, president, WOCN® Society.

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VCU’s Wound Care Team Celebrates WOCN Week 2012

April 9-13, 2012 was Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses (WOCN) week. The VCU Medical Center Wound Care Team celebrated in real style! Under the leadership of Ferne Alderfer, (wound care team nurse) the team decided to embark on a fund raiser to support Rally4Youth ( This national summer camp is designed to assist tweens and teens with permanent urinary or fecal diversions. The goal was to raise enough funds to provide a scholarship for a youth to attend the camp and support a WOC nurse to attend as a camp counselor. 2012-04-WCT-FundRaiser

The fund raiser was unique and creatively designed! All WCT members spent time during the week wearing either a urinary pouch with water or fecal pouch with chocolate pudding. The purpose of wearing the pouch was to increase the WCT member’s sensitivity and empathy towards the ostomy patients.  In addition, some torso models with ostomy appliances were displayed on designated surgical units as an educational vehicle to heighten awareness. WCT members asked colleagues and members of the interdisciplinary teams to make donations to the cause. Donations were accepted as one time gifts and as pledges, sponsoring the WCT nurse to wear the pouch for a designated period of time. Donations came from staff nurses, physicians, administrators, physical therapists, social workers, the OR, care partners, and even patients and family members!

The activity generated a competitive air in the WCT office! Each day, members would highlight the amount of funds generated. The overwhelming success of this activity netted $2,545!! We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to everyone for their extreme generosity. The value of supporting a young person through a difficult time in their life is priceless. This activity exemplifies VCU’s commitment to our patients and community. 

WCT members: Tod Brindle, Sue Creehan, Patrick Alridge, Seanna Eggleston, Ann King, Vilma D’Mellos-Fernandez, Ferne Alderfer

Submitted by
Sue Creehan RN, CWON
Program Manager

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Judy Stasuk Wins!Judy Stasuk wins Culture of Excellence Award

Judy Stasuk, BSN, RN, CWOCN was awarded the Culture of Excellence award for Quarter 3 2011 as well as the Culture of Excellence Clinical annual award for 2011 by Harford Memorial Hospital in Harve de Grace, Maryland. These awards were given in recognition of her role in the establishment of an outpatient ostomy support group.



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