6 Reasons Why Labor & Delivery and Mother & Baby Nurses Are So Great
In the United States, there are so many misconceptions about what a nurse actually does. It wasn’t until I became a nurse that I truly realized everything a nurse is responsible for. As a nursing cheerleader (and doula), I and Mainstay Doulas & Co. want to praise all the hard work nurses do in 2016. We especially want to shout-out to all the labor and delivery nurses who work tirelessly to help new parents and their babies come in the world!
Here are 6 things labor/delivery and mother/baby nurses do to make your hospital birthing experience better:
1. Nurses are patient advocates!
Unlike doulas, from day 1 of training, nurses are taught that their main role is to advocate for their patients. When patients have several healthcare providers and healthcare issues, it is the nurse’s responsibility to make sure their patients are getting the individualized care they need. Every day I ask my patients what their healthcare goal is and don’t just listen to what the chart is telling me. In labor and delivery, this is especially important because this experience is one that will change your life forever. Labor and delivery nurses work hard to follow birth plans, work with doulas, and keep new parents up-to-date with the birthing process. Having a good relationship with your nurse can make all the difference in a hospital delivery.
2. Nurses are constant students; always taking classes to learn
Evidenced-based really is the buzzword in the nursing community. As nurses start to take more leadership roles in shaping hospital and healthcare policy, nurses want to make sure there is good evidence to back up the nursing work. Even in the new maternity-nursing books, nurses learn that having doulas and labor support results in better patient outcomes. In order to integrate all the new research into nursing practice, nurses have to complete a certain number of educational hours to upkeep their licenses. Some hospitals even have nurses take extra classes to signify that their hospital is baby-friendly! In labor and delivery and mother-baby this is especially important with helping mothers labor in a way that is supportive of a patient’s choices and to help support breastfeeding after birth. Birth in hospitals is slowly changing as new research comes out.
3. Nurses provide nursing care to patients
What’s nursing care? These are just some of the things nurses do after/during a hospital delivery: checking in how you feel, helping with pain, measuring how far you’re dilated, walking after birth, preventing blood clots, keeping you hydrated, helping you walk to the bathroom, education on being a new parent, breastfeeding support, etc. Nurses might not be able to write orders or prescribe medications, but they do all the between work that can make your hospital experience better. Labor and delivery nurses are the frontline to make sure that your health care provider is up to date with your and your family’s needs. This is why it’s so important to keep the lines of communication open between you and your nurse and remember he/she is on the same team as you!
4. Nurses document everything that is happening
Documentation leads to reimbursement. Nurses document all the care you receive in the hospital. As healthcare has gotten more complex, this becomes increasingly important to make sure your insurance covers healthcare costs. Even though nurses might look like they are just always looking at computer screens when they are not with you, know that it’s for your benefit. It can even help with doula reimbursement! Labor and delivery nurses can document how working with a doula helped with your delivery and overall outcome.
5. Nurses look for signs and symptoms to prevent emergencies
To prevent emergencies, nurses want to check lab work and vital signs to make sure everything is going ok. If nurses can catch things early, then health crises can be prevented. They are in constant communication with your healthcare provider to make sure that you are safe while you’re in the hospital. This can be especially important for a hospital birth because they want to make sure that you’re hydrated, that your labor is progressing safely, and that you are healing after birth.
6. Nurses spend time with patients
Out of all the healthcare professionals, nurses spend the most time with their patients. Because nurses get a better sense of who their patients are, this is what makes them such great patient advocates. Even though they might not be in the room the entire time you are in labor, they are also taking care of several other patients as well making sure all goes well for them too. Nurses are the ones who will let your health care provider know everything that you need based on their assessment.
Nurses are an integral part of your hospital birthing team. Doulas and nurses can work seamlessly together to make sure all your needs are taken care of.
To read one nurse’s idea of what nurses really need for nursing week, check out this website.
Thank you to all the nurses we have worked with and all the nurses we have yet to have the pleasure of working with. Happy Nurse’s Week 2016! You deserve so much more than one week of recognition. Thank you for all that you do!
-Written by our favorite doula and nurse, Grace Dible, RN
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