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The Continence Connection Blog

NAFC Names Jean F. Wyman, PhD, RN, APRN, GNP-BC, FAAN, FGSA Continence Care Champion

Holly Kupetis

The National Association for Continence is proud to announce that Jean F. Wyman, PhD, RN, APRN, GNP-BC, FAAN, FGSA is the recipient of the Rodney Appell Continence Care Champion award. Dr. Wyman was recognized for her outstanding work board certified geriatric nurse practitioner with a subspecialty in continence care.  Dr. Wyman has dedicated her career to patient care, research and support of patient education.

Continence Care Champion Interview

1.    Can you provide us with a little more on your background, credentials, education and degrees?

I hold a BSN from Marquette University, a MN in physiological nursing and a PhD in curriculum from the University of Washington.  In addition, I completed a gerontological nurse practitioner program from the University of Washington, and hold advanced nursing licensure as a certified nurse practitioner in Minnesota.

2.    Can you give us any career highlights or special recognitions or achievements, published studies, etc.?

I have received several honors, including being named a Fellow in both the American Academy of Nursing and the Gerontological Society of America.  I also received several recognitions:  Nurse Leader in Aging Award from the American Academy of Nursing, President’s Award from SUNA, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association for Gerontological Nursing, and the Midwest Nursing Research Society John A. Hartford Foundation Award, and am in the University of Minnesota’s Academy of Excellence in Health Research.  I have received numerous intramural, foundation, and federal grants as a Principal Investigator or Co-Investigator related to urinary incontinence or the prevention of lower urinary tract symptoms in women. 

I have published extensively in top tier nursing, urological, and interdisciplinary journals, with 159 peer-reviewed publications, 3 books, and 32 book chapters.  Some of my publications include: the efficacy of bladder training; comparative effectiveness of bladder training, pelvic floor muscle exercises, and a combination of both intervention; outcome standardization in urinary incontinence, including the first papers published on condition-specific quality of life measures; and systematic reviews on nonsurgical approaches to urinary incontinence in women and in adults in community-based and long-term care settings and behavioral treatments in frail older adults.  In addition, I co-edited a comprehensive text on all aspects of urological care in children and adults for SUNA titled:  Core Curriculum in Urologic Nursing.

3.    What was it that drew you to Geriatric Nursing & Continence Care? What was your career path that led you to your current specialty?

I became interested in geriatric nursing in my first staff nursing position after college.  The hospital that I worked at sent me to a professional development program in gerontological nursing.  After I completed my PhD program, I did consultation in a long-term care facility and was asked to work with an older woman who had a stroke and what we would recognize today as urgency incontinence.  However, the nursing staff were very frustrated in caring for her because of her urinary urgency and they felt she could control her leaking accidents since it seemed to happen in the same spot. Because of the poor treatment of her and my going to the literature and not finding much to help guide her care, I thought this was an area that needed research and advocacy.  This one resident has fueled my passion over the past 38 years for improving incontinence care in aging adults.

4.    What achievement(s) in your career are you most proud of?

I am proud of several areas of my work:  1) providing research evidence documenting the benefit of bladder training; 2) standardizing outcome measures such as the bladder diary and condition-specific quality of life measures (first of their kind—Incontinence Impact Questionnaire and the Urogenital Distress Inventory—that have been widely adopted worldwide in research and practice); 3) contributing to international consensus recommendations for continence care in women and aging adult; 4) leading an international conference on Shaping Future Directions in Urinary Incontinence whose papers were published in Nursing Research; and 5) serving as a co-author for the seminal text, Core Curriulum in Urologic Nursing which covers all aspects of urological care in children and adults.

5.    What is most rewarding aspect in your current role?

The most rewarding aspect of my current position which is directing the Center for Aging Science and Care Innovation at the School of Nursing is mentoring future practitioners and researchers.  I particularly enjoy working with students and junior faculty who are developing their careers around improving continence care for women and older adults, and helping them to network with other colleagues across the country who share similar interests.

6.    What led you to teaching and what do you love about that aspect of your career?

I knew that I wanted to teach while I was an undergraduate student.  I enjoy helping others learn and watching their develop confidence and knowledge in whatever I am teaching. 

 7.    What is the most challenging aspect about your role?

The most challenging part is balancing multiple competing career demands as a faculty member, and not having enough time to do everything that I would like to do especially as it relates to scholarly work or practice with adults who suffer from lower urinary tract symptoms.

8.    What is your philosophy on providing the best care for your patients?

My philosophy involves listening carefully to patient, and involving them in decision-making about their care.  A key part of providing the best care is to be empathic to how incontinence is affecting their lives and to identify patients’ goals and preferences for treatment.  No two patients are alike, and care must be individualized to the person’s needs.

9.    What in your opinion are the keys to successful outcomes for the patients you treat?

As a nurse practitioner who subspecializes in continence care, I think the most successful outcomes are when my patients achieve the goals that they identify for themselves, reduce their lower urinary tract symptoms, gain confidence again, and have improved quality of life. 

10.What areas of research would you like to see or conduct to further advance care or patient outcomes?

Right now I am an investigator in the NIH funded Prevention of Lower Urinary Tract Symptoms Research Consortium that is focused on learning more about bladder health in girls and women, including risk and protective factors, and voiding behaviors.  Our preliminary work will lead to prevention studies that are greatly needed in the field.  I am also involved in a study on understanding urinary tract infections (UTIs) in school-aged girls and women. This study will examine the epidemiology, as well as diagnostic and treatment variations for acute uncomplicated UTIs and recurrent UTIs.

11.What is a common misperception you find in your field?

Even in 2018, there are still misperceptions that urinary incontinence is a normal part of aging and that surgery is the only treatment available.  Of even more concern, there is lack of guidance for obtaining help from a health care professional specializes in urinary incontinence.  This specialist could be a physician or nurse practitioner, 

12. What areas do you see need more improvement? Patient Education? Awareness?

Reducing the stigma of having urinary incontinence is still a major problem, with a need for greater public and patient education. In addition, we are still not doing a good enough job in professional education programs about how to assess and manage urinary incontinence and other lower urinary tract symptoms.  A significant area for improvement relates to caring for older adults with chronic urinary incontinence residing in long-term care facilities.  Research interest and funding goes primarily towards cure and prevention in younger and healthier populations, with limited interest and support for studies improving treatment of those who are frail with multiple chronic conditions where cure may not be possible.

13.What does being recognized by NAFC as a CCC mean to you?

I am humbled and honored by this recognition. I am very proud that others deemed my work as qualifying for this special recognition.  To be recognized for my continence care research, practice and education is a pinnacle of my career and fulfills a goal to leave a legacy regarding  how to improve patients’ live who suffer with urinary incontinence.