Why Doulas Love Nurses
We should celebrate the amazing nurses that take care of families and babies. Labour & Delivery, Postpartum, and NICU nurses are some of the most dedicated nurses out there. They skip breaks because it’s time to push, take phone calls in the middle of the night to check in on a baby still in the hospital, go out of their way to support families in their needs and choices as they take the steep learning curve that is having a baby. We love nurses.
Working together as a team improves the experience of everyone involved. Nurses do so much for their patients, and don’t always get the thanks that they deserve.
Many expectant parents are concerned about how their medical team will respond to their doula when they are in labour. It is one of the most frequently asked questions that individuals have when they are interviewing potential doulas. It is an important thing to discuss, as different doulas may have different approaches to their relationships with hospitals.
During a birth, the person you are going to see the most is your nurse. It is imperative that your doula should have a good working relationship with her. Even if your doula and nurse have never worked together before, your doula should be able to put the nurse at ease.
No stepping on toes here! Nurses have an important job to do during labour and birth. They are the front line in keeping you and baby safe throughout the entire event. The last thing you need is a doula that steps on your nurse’s toes. Your doula should know what her Scope of Practice is, when to help the nurse, when to back off, and how to work in and around the entire medical team. When doulas make suggestions that may impact your nurse’s care of you, it can create an uncomfortable situation for everyone.
They Take Time
Nurses know that connection is vital in birth and parenting. They take the time to talk to women, learn their hopes and fears, their preferences and anxieties. They know that birth is better when women feel safe, heard, and respected, and they work hard to help families feel that safety, even when birth does not go as planned. Nurses are expert listeners and know what questions to ask to give them the information they need to support patients well.
Your doula can work with you and your nurse to make sure that all of your questions are asked and answered. Sometimes it is hard to remember everything you wanted to discuss, after all, you are in labour! Your doula knowing when to speak up, and who to speak to, can make all the difference. Your doula should never speak on your behalf, and your nurse probably won’t listen if your doula tries. But doulas who have a respectful working relationship with hospital staff will be able to pass on information that can help your nurse provide you with even better care.
When a doula and a nurse work well together, it is magical. They are able to communicate with just a look or quick word to work together to help the family do what needs to be done. Sometimes that is helping to turn a client onto their side quickly, change linens, or push. But in order for teamwork to happen, both sides need to be open to it. While you do not have control over who your nurse is, you do have control over who you hire as your doula. By making sure that your doula is comfortable in hospitals and working with medical staff, you are doing what you can to ensure that magical teamwork happens.
When doulas and nurses work collaboratively, nurses are able to do the things they need to do, like charting, without compromising patient comfort and care. They are able to tag-team with each other so that no one is exhausted, especially at longer births when the doula is there across multiple shifts. It also means that nurses are more available to assist doctors, such as during an epidural, because the doula is there to emotionally support the person in labour.
Those who become nurses have a special kind of heart and labour nurses are some of the best out there. The work they do keeps parents and babies safe, while also working to provide them with a positive birth experience. The compassion, dedication, and breadth of knowledge that L&D nurses have is incredible.
Meaghan Grant works with families to explore their options and help them to discover their own strength through pregnancy, birth, and the postpartum period. She is a Certified Labour Doula, Postpartum Doula, Childbirth Educator, and Postpartum Placenta Specialist. As co-owner of Toronto Family Doulas, Hamilton Family Doulas, and Ottawa Family Doulas, she is committed to providing judgement-free support of all birth and parenting choices.