Wednesday, June 23, 2010
As many of you may know I have been moonlighting as a labor nurse while waiting for my new job to start. While I enjoy (mostly) the work I am doing, I find myself struggling at times between my "identities" as you will... One of the reasons I quit my previous job as a labor nurse was so that I could fully immerse myself into the role of practitioner. It's not as easy of a transition as some would think. The first task was to take charge of the labor room, being able to give orders to a labor nurse was difficult for me as I identified with them and their work. At first, I would back down or agree when a labor nurse suggested something or was not doing what I had asked for. As a student midwife, I was in the room more than perhaps some nurses were comfortable with and would find myself adjusting monitors and messing with iv's..sometimes viewed as intrusive by the nurses. I found it hard not to be on the unit staring at the strip myself rather than trusting the labor nurses to report back to me their findings. The enormity of my responsibility was heavy on my shoulders and I wanted to be sure everything was done right. It wasn't until someone pointed out to me that I am/was a labor nurse too, wouldn't I be offended if the practitioner continuously double checked my work? Hmmm...that gave me pause. Now here I am (temporarily) on the other side of the labor bed again...not as in charge as I once was and that has been difficult for many reasons. I was just beginning to develop my style of education and preparing my patients for their birth experiences, their options and risk/benefits of procedures..now I am under someone else's style and method of care. Recently, I had a patient who had spontaneously ruptured the day before she presented (she thinks) and presented for rest and then pitocin augmentation. The patient wanted to know if I thought she could still labor spontaneously overnight as she wanted to try for a natural childbirth. I told her that it was possible as she was having a few contractions that were palpating moderately. I reported off to the next oncoming staff and told her of my findings. She scoffed at me and pretty much told me how incredibly wrong I was...my midwife soul was wounded. But then, on my long drive home I thought about it..that nurse while having many more years of labor experience than I lacks what I think is vital to every woman..the power of belief. Belief in her body, belief in birth, belief in the power of positive thinking. I have seen a woman go into labor spontaneously after many hours of being ruptured and I felt sorry for this nurse for perhaps not having the opportunity to experience such an amazing thing. So here I stand at the crossroads teetering between on career and another. I have learned that labor nurses work incredibly hard and that midwives are incredibly needed.
Posted by Darby at 8:33 AM