Spotlight on Telfair Labor & Delivery nurse Tracy Storey
Tracy Storey, BSN, RNC, CCBE
Labor & Delivery nurse at The Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital
Nurse: 30 years (21 with St. Joseph’s/Candler)
Education: Georgia Southern University
SJ/C: Why did you decide to become a nurse?
Tracy: Honestly when I started college, I had no clue. I was 17 when I graduated from high school, and my parents said when you finish high school, you go to college, so I did. I was a general studies major and a psychology major and kind of hopped around a little bit. I ended up in some of the psychology classes that nursing majors had to take. I sat there listening to them thinking, ‘I could do that.’ I switched over. It really made sense because I was a sickly little child and spent a lot of time in hospitals and doctors’ offices. I was the child that when I was seven I could tell you all the names of my medicines and what they were for. I used to watch them start my IVs and they’d say don’t look, but I was like, ‘I like to look.’ It kind of made sense but it never really crossed my mind until I got to college that I would do that, and once I set my mind to it, that’s what I did. I originally thought I’d do the psychology side of it but then when I went to my clinicals, they make you go through a little bit of everything, and not to be sappy, but I saw my first birth and thought it was so amazing. I looked up and saw the dad was tearing up too. I knew that’s what I wanted to do.
SJ/C: You started out at St. Joseph’s Hospital (where we no longer deliver babies). What’s it like to have delivered babies at St. Joseph’s and Candler?
Tracy: It’s interesting because (at Candler), we have a labor and delivery unit and then a postpartum unit. Back then at St. Joseph’s, it was all one unit. The patients would come in; you’d admit them; you’d labor them; you’d deliver them; and you’d just keep them. And then you’d come back the next day and take care of them again. You see them through the whole stage. Being smaller, slower pace, not doing as many deliveries, it was a good way to learn and getting that whole continuity the entire stay was a great first place to work. Here, we are faster paced; we have a lot more deliveries and that’s also interesting. We also have the special care nursery, so we can handle more pre-term, which is also good. We now have in-house anesthesia around the clock if something happens in the middle of the night. We have neonatologists here all the time. In the case of emergencies, it’s a great safety blanket that I didn’t even know I needed when I was a new grad.
SJ/C: What do you love about being a nurse here at The Mary Telfair Women’s Hospital?
Tracy: I love delivering babies. I love being there at really amazing times in a family’s life. Welcoming a baby into the world is an amazing thing; it’s a really pivotal moment in somebody’s whole life – becoming a parent – and to be there to share that with people every day, is an amazing privilege. I still cry 30 years later.
SJ/C: What do you think makes the Telfair BirthPlace special?
Tracy: The people. Our nurses are really great. Our doctors are great; our anesthesiologists. Everybody works together so well. I think labor and delivery nurses are nice people, and we do what we can to help make patients feel comfortable and welcome. It’s a really good environment. It’s a great place to deliver a baby.
SJ/C: Why did you also want to get involved in education and help teach some of the birthing classes we offer here?
Tracy: I do enjoy teaching. I started out teaching the NRP classes which certifies all our nurses to do resuscitation on babies. I enjoy working with students and training new hires, so they asked me if I’d help teach the childbirth classes. We offer one a month, and they are usually full. Becoming certified to teach was like going back to college. You had to do a lot of reading and course work, take tests and go to Atlanta to take this class all to get this extra certification. It’s not just, I’m a labor and delivery nurse so I can teach these classes. There’s a lot more involved, but I do enjoy teaching the classes. They help with decreasing your stress level by knowing what to expect and what helps families prepare for childbirth. It helps them know what to expect that last trimester; what labor will be like; what kind of pain medication options there are; what happens afterwards; all those things to try to help them be prepared. The majority of classes are first-time moms. Occasionally I’ll have someone who is not but most of them are first-time parents.
SJ/C: What advice would you offer to new nurses or those considering a career in nursing?
Tracy: It is a career that if your heart is in it and you really love it for nursing, then absolutely you should go to nursing school. It is a great career. It’s not something to do just because you think, ‘I’ll always have a job.’ If your heart is not in it, you’re not going to like it. It does take a certain type of person. It’s not a sedentary job. If you think on labor and delivery you are just going to get to play with some babies, it’s not like that. It is fast-paced. It’s exciting. It’s a lot of fun and very rewarding but it’s also hard. Be prepared for that. Things can change quickly. A really high percentage of the time it’s a super happy time but when it goes bad, it goes really, really bad, and it happens fast so you have to be prepared for those emergencies.
Family: Married with two children (son 16, daughter 12) and mother
Hobbies/Interests: Cooking, gardening, exercising and reading