Continence & Stoma Care Nurse

RN Elvira Habermann

About me...

I live in Klagenfurt, the capital city of the southernmost province of Austria, located in the middle of the alps, next to the Slovenian and Italian borders. After completing the basic education as a qualified nurse in 1988 I began working at the neurologic ward and urologic ambulance in the state hospital for nine years. Thereafter I started to work extramurally and since 2002 I am a freelance continence and stoma care nurse, which is really my passion. 

I find dealing with human excretion to be completely natural, since a functioning digestive system is indispensable for our well-being. Unfortunately it is still a taboo for many people. I go to see my clients in their homes. It is usually easier to talk about these very personal matters in their familiar surrounding and besides, also many clients may have great difficulty reaching a hospital. I travel long journeys at times, because I feel responsible for my clients' special issues and needs.

In order to broaden my knowledge I took a course in basic sexual education in 2011. I deal with people of all ages and the sexual life of those affected is another taboo. Interacting in a mindful, neutral, unbiased way with these human beings is something I feel very strongly about. It requires tact and a certain charm to address these topics: people feel embarrassed and suffer degradation. If I can manage to restore some of their personal dignity by respecting their self determination and by communicating at eye level, it feels to me like a great achievement.

Aside from working extramurally I have been giving talks and lectures for almost 20 years. I have been writing articles, giving interviews and holding workshops, in order to pass on my knowledge and experience that has accumulated over the past years and to spark excitement among others for this profession. It’s also intended to help improve industrial product development. 

I am grateful for all I can learn from my clients. They are being marginalized because of their condition, when indeed they are often more sensitive and advanced than so-called normal people. If I’ll ever write a book - which is my long-held wish - it will be about them. 

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