Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Whine Whine Fuss Fuss Redux

At the last birth I attended, we were blessed with two great labor nurses. Rita arrived during transition and stayed through post-partum transfer. I smiled the moment I saw her. She had been a fantastic source of perspective and encouragement for the client of mine whose birth experience was the worst I have witnessed so far.

Most recently, Rita was promoting the merits of arnica oil to ease crowning. She turned a blind eye to the laboring mother's consumption of solids. She saw me mixing an Emer-gen-C and asked if she could try one. She helped set the mother up in a squatting position for pushing.

I heart Rita.

I can use Rita's name because she is no longer working as a labor and delivery nurse. She is no longer working as a nurse at all. We were talking after the delivery and she told me that she had accepted a job as a pharmaceutical rep. Did she have a burning desire to distribute promotional enema dolls? No.

She said she was leaving nursing because she couldn't do the part of the job she loved any more: working with women.

The hospital she worked for switched roughly a year ago to a paperless records system. So every notation the nurses make is entered into the computer through a combination touch-screen and keyboard. I have watched doctors and nurses use this system. They come in to take a temp or BP and then they have to go touch through several screens to get the vital signs page, where they then type in the time, their name, the vitals. Then they touch over to the heart tracing page and put in a notation there that they took vitals. Can't the computer integrate these things? Same procedure for medication, interventions, etc.

Compare this to the paper charting still done at the other hospital: the nurse comes in, takes a temp, writes it down on the chart and leaves. Or, better yet, asks the mother if she'd like some juice, or offers to get a sandwich for the partner. Or just sits and holds the mother's hand.

Rita said she loves birth -- she had her 3 children naturally. She loves supporting unmedicated birth. She can hold her own with the doctors.

We have lost her to technology.

Do I really want to go to nursing school if this is what the future holds?


Blogger I am a Milliner's Dream, a woman of many "hats"... said...

If you go onto to Midwifery School...yes.

If you go onto to teach nursing (as I may do.)

If you go on to teach Childbirth Education (as I do and plan to continue to do.)

...or you could just continue to be an excellent hands-on doula.

I'm anxious to watch the progression of thought. My mind is racing with thoughts since I am in the midst of school, believe me.


8:45 AM  
Blogger alicia said...

there are some excellent technologies out there that let the nurse do nursing and not paperwork. And there are those like the one you describe.

9:44 PM  

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