2018 NW Region Outstanding WOC Nurse
Ruth began working for Legacy Emanuel in 1976. A government grant was given to them to form a Cancer Rehab Team and the team had to include an Enterostomal Therapist. Ruth was 1 of 3 ET nurses in Oregon at that time.
A person can’t go anywhere in Oregon and not know the name Ruth Campbell. When you tell people you work at Salem Hospital, people usually ask, “Well how is Ruth? Tell her hi for me.” Patients and professionals alike all know Ruth. Ruth Campbell has spent her career as a nurse providing patients with compassionate care and giving them the unending support to adjust to ostomy life. That is where her heart and passion lie. It was Ruth (and her former colleague Fay) who worked with VATA on developing Otto Ostomy as an interactive ostomy model for patients and nurses. There were patients who just needed a hands on approach when learning what was about to be done to their body. These minds came together and Otto Ostomy was born. Ruth was instrumental in growing the Wound Ostomy Department at Salem Health. Standard work and Policies glimmer with her knowledge and have shaped us into what we are today. Ruth comes to work with a team approach and is quick to remind us to not work in a silo. She has provided her expertise to new nurses as well as speaking the nursing students at Chemeketa Community College. Ruth speaks of her experience with such conviction, one can’t help but want to be a Wound/Ostomy Nurse. In the recent years, she has precepted nursing students and new grads to give them the hands on experience needed to round out their education. Some say this is where they want to be while others are grateful just to see another side of nursing.
She takes the ‘ick’ factor so many people seem to have with an ostomy away and makes having an ostomy seem so normal. When speaking with her patients, the theme of always feeling supported and not embarrassed was common. One patient in particular, states, “I will never forget the day I was marked with that little circle. She made sure it was the best place for my stoma and didn’t want me to leave until I felt comfortable with where it would be. Then, after I had surgery, she was right there helping. She had a smile and always a wonderful thought for me. I never felt embarrassed about my stoma. Ruth always made me feel at home when I was in the clinic and was genuinely interested in me and my family. Pretty Awesome.” This is one patient out of hundreds that Ruth has cared for. They all have the same to say about her. Several say Ruth pulled them from the darkness and made them feel like living with an ostomy isn’t as bad as they thought.
Ruth Campbell has been an asset to the WOCN community. Her wealth of knowledge and passion should be bottled so that those of us who thirst for this type of career, can drink it up.
Getting this award would be the best way to sum up a career devoted to supporting ostomy patients and their needs while educating the medical community how to provide better wound/ostomy care to our patients.