Ask A Magnet Nurse
As Nurses Anticipate Their Needs, New Moms Feel More Heard And Understood
Lauren Smith, RN
Smart Living: Having a baby is such an emotional, momentous time in a parent’s life, it is no surprise that a patient’s experience is shaped by the empathy and understanding they receive from their doctor, nurses and staff. How do nurses in the Telfair BirthPlace show empathy on top of delivering great care?
Lauren Smith: As a nursing team, when a mother reports a concern, we can stay two steps ahead. We are ready with whatever intervention is needed, whether it be a heating pad for cramps, assessing a tender latch while mom is nursing, elevating her legs for swelling or even just dimming the lights so mom can sleep or ease her headache. There are so many little things that can come up and it’s our job to anticipate those needs. It helps patients feel like we are more in tune with them. Rather than simply going through a routine, patients know that we are listening to them as individuals.
Also, from a personal standpoint, many of us are mothers ourselves or have aunts or sisters who are mothers, so we’ve been a part of a loved one’s postpartum experience in some shape or form. In fact, eleven other nurses and I discovered we were all pregnant and are due this fall within weeks of each other! It’s been a fun experience for us but it has also strengthened our bond as a nursing team. We were already a cohesive unit and this has just made us closer.
SL: The Telfair BirthPlace is in Candler Hospital, which was re-designated this year as a Baby-Friendly hospital by the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. How does empathy play a role in this designation?
LS: It is crucial in two ways. First, our focus is on keeping moms and babies together, as long as everyone is healthy. That helps with bonding, helps moms learn about their babies and learn feeding cues. It also means supporting moms on whatever path they choose for feeding their baby. We give moms the education and skills they need to continue breastfeeding when they go home. Or if they have made an informed decision to use formula, we provide education and support for that as well. It all comes back to really listening to our patients and being right there with them as they become moms.