National Nurse’s Day prompted me to reflect upon the history of nursing and the development of our profession. One cannot revisit our history without first researching Florence Nightingale and her lasting influence on our craft and its invaluable position in healthcare. Nightingale was the original pioneer of nursing practice. In her earlier works, she refers to the knowledge of nursing to be far different than that of the medical profession. I strongly identify with this statement. Nursing is not medicine. Nursing is a blend of arts and science, which is what drew me to the profession as a high school student.
Each nurse has an origins story, one that has put them on the path to their chosen specialty. Mine is quite boring because I knew from the beginning that I wanted to be a Labor and Delivery nurse. I will never forget watching the labor nurses look at the fetal strip, while it was unfurled, laying on the floor in the hallway, to see the evolution of the pattern. I had no idea what they were looking at, but I wanted to be in that group. I was in complete awe of them! Little did I know that on that strip was a complex pattern that would be my only connection to an invisible patient. Based on that squiggly line I would make life saving decisions for someone I could not even see. The rest is history as I was hooked for life.
Today, on National’s Nurse’s Day, I thank all of those that have led the way, my preceptors, mentors, and professors who dedicated their time and knowledge to developing my nursing career. This quote from Florence Nightingale, encapsulates my feelings about the nursing profession and where it continues to go:
‘Unless we are making progress in our nursing every year, every month, every week, take my word for it we are going back’. -Florence Nightingale
This past year presented many challenges due to the world health crisis. Fortunately, I was blessed to work with an amazing team of labor and delivery nurses who pushed forward with practice changes to adapt to the current conditions. They had to navigate new a new world acclimating to i virtual technology while providing excellent customer care. Without them, we would not have been able to pivot simultaneously to distance education and support. During Nurse’s Week, I would like to take this time to introduce you to the PeriGen Labor and Delivery nurses who are dedicated to improving clinical practice and patient safety through advanced perinatal software.
Please take a moment to meet our team to find out why they became Labor nurses!
Dr. Alana McGolrick, DNP, RNC-OB, C-EFM
Chief Nursing Officer, PeriGen
Darcy Dinneny, MSN, MBA, RN
Unlike most, I did not find my specialty during nursing school. I went to nursing school to become a labor nurse. I never considered anything else. I knew it was what I wanted. I had had 4 children by the time I became a nurse and felt I could empathize with my patients on another level. I loved the entire process of pregnancy and delivery. I never failed to cry when a baby was born, even after participating in hundreds of births. Being a labor nurse empowered me, gave me confidence, changed my path in life. I am forever grateful for the changes it wrought, including the impact on my family. I have 3 daughters, 2 of whom are/will be labor nurses because they love it as I did. I’m proud of all 5 kids but cannot explain how much I enjoy “talking shop” with my girls. My years at the bedside helped me empathize with the nurses I interact with now. It’s a sisterhood and I cherish the comradery that continues, despite our roles.
Michelle Flowers, RNC-OB
- Each birth is a miracle, it has always been an honor to have the privilege to participate in that experience. Nothing in life compares to watching a woman give birth and that infant successfully taking their first breath.
- This is one of the most vulnerable times in a woman’s life. she is at both her strongest and weakest points during labor. She needs an advocate willing to support fully informed decisions made for her body and health and that of her child, even when not the popular choice. It was my goal to be such an advocate. Nursing provided a path to fulfill that vision while providing a future for my family- it allows us to pursue many routes and never stop advancing.
- Birth experiences make lifelong impacts on women and families. I thought it was an area I could potentially make a difference: ensuring mothers received optimal support, maintained their dignity, and understood their value no matter their life circumstance.
- The LD specialty is focused on assisting women and families through the birth experience and process. It is either one of the best or worst times in their life course. There is no in between. It requires a consistent state of awareness to constantly changing circumstances to help ensure optimal outcomes. It is ever changing, blending multiple service lines into one requiring a persistent focus to skill sets. It is exhilarating.
Lisa Schoelmer, BSN, C-EFM
As far back as I can remember, I wanted to be a nurse to care for others, help them be well, and make a difference in this world. I wanted to use all the skills I was learning and wasn’t sure where that was going to be until my OB rotation, WOW! I could feel the energy of the L&D (Labor & Delivery) team as I saw how they worked together in the ever-changing environment from routine to emergency in a split second. I witnessed the excitement, joy, and sometimes relief that showed on their faces with the birth and as they heard baby’s first cry. One 8-hour rotation and I knew I was going to be a L&DNurse! I was intrigued by so many aspects of nursing OR, ER, procedural, bedside caregiver, support person, educator and the L&D nurse did it all! I had always been enthralled by pregnancy, the growth and development of a new life in-utero, and the miracle of birth. I did it! I’m an L&D Nurse and I’ve loved every moment providing my patients with safe quality care and memorable birth experience!
Lisa Steele, BSN, RNC-OB
While in nursing school, I gave birth to two of my children. Even before finishing school, I knew L&D was where my nurse’s heart was focused. The staff taking care of me made such an impact with their caring, compassion, and tenderness. I knew I wanted to be that nurse to someone else. Unfortunately, it was not to be for four more years. I started in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) after graduating, but my heart was still drawn to L&D. However, ICU (Intensive Care Unit) was great preparation for that path. I took care of people at the end of their lives enduring sickness and sadness that needed empathy and gentleness. I learned how to give that care before I ever transitioned to L&D. It was good experience. We all know that labor and delivery is not all balloons and laughter, smiles and joy, kisses and cuddles. There can also be tremendous strength through unimaginable sadness. Labor nurses touch lives during the best time anyone can experience, and during the worst. The bond a woman develops with her labor nurse is a bond forever. Only another labor nurse will ever truly understand the pull of L&D on our hearts. I haven’t regretted one second of my career in L&D.
Lisa Wright, MSN, RN
I remember being fascinated by childbirth at a very early age. It could have been the whole mystery about where babies come from and there was a TV show called, “Having Babies.” I was not allowed to watch the show and my mother and grandmother would talk to me about it. As I entered high school, there was pressure to decide what career to pursue. I knew I wanted to be involved in delivering babies, therefore, I started researching the difference between becoming an OB nurse or obstetrician. I decided that nursing was the path I wanted to take because nurses were more involved with the patients during labor. Helping moms during labor and delivery is the most special type of nursing care. I seriously considered continuing my education to become a midwife, however, life took me in a different direction. I became involved in leadership and informatics. While I miss bedside nursing and taking care of patients, I feel my role at PeriGen allows me to assist the bedside nurse and indirectly have an impact on patient care. PeriWatch Vigilance is a powerful set of tools to alert the care team if there are trends that may lead to a less than desirable outcome.
Faye Mizrahi, RNC-OB
For my nursing career, I wanted to work in an area that was challenging, interesting, and could make a difference with my patient’s lives. Labor and Delivery was that choice for me. Labor and Delivery provided me the opportunity to be a Labor Nurse, an OR Nurse, a Baby Nurse, and a High-Risk Nurse at the same time while bringing a new life into the world. Labor and Delivery also provided me a special bond with all my patients and their families and provided me a work family that I will cherish all my life. Being a L&D nurse has been the most rewarding gift because it has given me the opportunity to care and give back not only to my patients, but also to my community in volunteering in March of Dimes and Resolve through Sharing events.
Joanne Fullerton, MS, RN-BC
On the first day of my OB rotation, I was assigned a nurse to follow with a patient was that almost ready to deliver. I was in the room with her while she was pushing. A little bit later, my instructor walked in because the FHR (Fetal Heart Rate) was going down. Forceps were applied for a short time and then we were off to the OR for a c/section. In those few short what felt like minutes, but I’m sure was longer, I was hooked. I distinctly remember standing in the back of the OR turning to my instructor and saying, “this is what I’m going to do!” The role of the labor nurse seemed so different than any other nursing role I had seen so far. You are an ED (Emergency Department)ED (Emergency Department) nurse, a bedside nurse, an OR nurse, a PACU nurse, a baby nurse. You are there to talk to your patients, educate them, and care for them during one of the best moments of their lives. I couldn’t resist the thrill of it. I wanted it! I got it! And have loved every second of it, even the sad stuff that no one thinks happens in L&D.
Karen Kolega, MSN-CNL, RNC-OB, C-EFM, C-ONQS
During my clinical rotations in nursing school, I was enamored with the acute care, critical thinking, and autonomy of both emergency room nursing and L&D nursing. In addition, I worked in an obstetrics public health clinic during the time I was in nursing school; I loved working with Women and Children. Yet the issues of access to care and disparities in care were readily apparent and I wanted to be part of the solution of bringing excellence in OB care to all members of my community.
Leigh Collins, MSN, RNC-OB, C-EFM, C-ONQA, NE-BC
When I began nursing school, I was not thinking about maternity nursing as a career choice. During my OB rotation, I had the opportunity thanks to my preceptor and instructor to provide some hands-on care. I saw my first delivery and I cried with joy. This delivery ignited a passion in me, and I knew then I wanted to be an OB nurse.