Doulas and nurses should be the best of friends (IMO), but that’s not always the case. Ideally, we who spend the most time with laboring mothers understand and respect each other’s role and do our best to work together and be helpful. I always try my best to win over all the health care providers I meet when I’m at a birth, and feel so disappointed when it seems like someone is just not giving me a chance (maybe I’m one of those “rogue doulas!”).
With that in mind, you can imagine how pleasantly surprised I was to receive this email out of the blue earlier this spring:
The OB nurses of Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital invite you to participate in a partnership opportunity! We are interested in building our relationship with local doulas who come to Advocate Good Shepherd. We have planned an informal meet and greet ….
Our Doula Partnership Project was developed from a desire to enhance the relationship of the OB nurses and doulas in order to provide optimal satisfaction and outcomes. Come tour our unit and build a trusting working relationship with our OB nursing staff. Refreshments will be provided.
It was even better when I arrived to see the room set up beautifully with coffee and snacks and gifts! We started with chit-chat and introductions -- and it was wonderful to hear about the wide range of experience, certifying organizations, and additional interests (like midwifery studies, massage therapy, and childbirth photography) from the other doulas attending.
Then, the presentation started with this statement:
The OB nurses of Advocate Good Shepherd recognize the important contribution Doulas offer to successful outcomes of the birthing process.
Wow! Good Shepherd has a Lamaze-based birthing center and uses evidence-based practice to improve their patient outcomes. We doulas learned about different actions that support the nurses' role as well as the hospital's standards of practice. Then a good amount of time was spent talking about other ways we might best work together.
It was AMAZING. Of course, the hospital staff, medical providers, and doulas are all working towards the same thing — a happy, healthy mother and child and a satisfactory birth experience. But! To formally and joyfully take steps to understand and embrace each other’s role makes everyone's job easier and more satisfying -- and will do even more to ensure the parents' birth satisfaction. Kudos to Advocate Good Shepherd for taking the trouble and for making us feel so welcome!
Has anyone else had an experience like this at a hospital? Hoping that this is a sign of more collaboration to come!