A perinatal clinical nurse educator and former midwife shares the story behind her six word story.
My six word story is "Privileged to see birthdays every day."
Apparently, according to my mum, I announced that I was going to be a nurse at the age of five. It took me a little longer to decide which specialty. I started registered nursing training at the age of 18 in Yorkshire, UK. The training then was hospital based, and I had a chance to experience most specialties. This solidified the idea that I wanted to be a midwife, and I qualified in 1991.
I absolutely loved it -- every birth is special -- and I still feel the same now. I worked in a busy obstetric unit, gaining experience, before moving to the community where I had my own caseload. It was an adjustment from the higher-risk midwifery I was used to practicing, but the continuity meant that I saw women from around 12 weeks of pregnancy to the baby being 4 weeks old. I met one of my good friends first as her midwife. I was with her for both her complicated labours, and I think I helped her through because of the trust that developed from the continuity that comes with being a community midwife.
I immigrated to B.C. in 2006 with a job as an obstectrics RN at Royal Columbian Hospital. Again, this was a big adjustment for me, going from a midwife to a RN. I found it difficult to step back at first, but thanks to the support of the amazing nurses on this unit, I found my feet and settled in.
A couple of years ago I started working at Abbotsford Regional Hospital as a clinical nurse educator (CNE). I am lucky that my role still sometimes allows me to be at the bedside with new mums. Obviously a lot of our role as CNEs is to help the staff keep updated, and practicing emergency drills is part of this. We are part of a program developed in part by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada called MoreOB. The purpose of this program is to increase safety through education and hands-on practice with all disciplines, so it includes our midwives, OBs and family doctors.
I can’t say how much it means to have a good team around you in obstetrics, for your own support but also from a practice point of view. Sometimes things can go rapidly from "normal" to an emergency situation. Although most pregnancies are fairly straightforward, we now have women with more comorbidities, more diabetes, more with high body mass indexes, more multiple births due in part to increased rates of assisted reproduction techniques, and more older mums.
As with most nurses, every working day is different. I may be working on content for a workshop, teaching in a more formal classroom environment, helping develop new protocols and orders, or working on the unit with a new nurse. I love the chance to help provide labour support, maybe give a new RN tips to help our mums cope with labour. To provide labour support, you have to learn to build a rapport with your patient -- they often feel vulnerable, emotional, be in pain -- and it is definitely an art.
The moment when you see that new life, it's just a miracle every time, and truly awe inspiring how strong women are. When you no longer get that feeling, it's time to change your career. Luckily, after 28 years in this specialty, it still gets me every time.
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