Happy National Nurses Week 2016! Whether you are a nurse, know a nurse, have been cared for by a nurse, or plan to be cared by one soon for your upcoming birth, we know that the work and dedication from nurses impact the lives of many. Today, in tribute to nurses who serve in the Labor and Delivery (or, L&D) units across hospitals all over, we offer tips to expectant parents for understanding their roles and how to make your experience with your nurse in labor great.
Your nurse is there to help and has good intentions. No matter your birth preferences or what you know about what your hospital will or won't permit according to policy, your nurse's role is to give you great care during your stay, and to keep you and your baby safe and healthy. Go into your birth knowing that your nurse is a friend, not foe.
Nurses are human, too. Nurses rejoice with birthing families and grieve when something goes wrong. Nurses have bad days. Nurses have varying personalities. Don't feel intimidated by your nurse, but rather view her as a partner in your experience -- approach her with questions and concerns freely. And, if you're not having a good experience with your nurse, kindly speak to someone else in the nurse's station and see if you can be reassigned to someone who would be a better fit.
Your nurse will look out for you and herself. Understand that your nurse is your ally, but she will likely not sacrifice her safety or job in the process. Your nurse is bound by hospital policy and must carry it out -- don't shoot the messenger! (a good reason to know well in advance the policies at your chosen birth place)
Your nurse sees a lot of families in birth. Use her knowledge! Ask questions! Ask for help! Let him know if you want something different. Let her know what's working for you and what's not. Nurses can help with coping tips, intervention information, getting the comfort items you need, information for partners, and more. While it's true your nurse can't be with you throughout labor (that's what doulas do) because of other families in their care, you can use your nurse for many resources.
Speak up for the good. If you have a wonderful experience with a nurse, let her know. Many nurses -- and professionals in general -- get feedback when things don't go well, but often do not when things are great. Tell your nurse how she helped, even if your comments seem minor or unimportant.