Betsy, a writer friend, emailed me the story she had read in our workshop since I had to miss the class. She knows I hang on every episode of her life in Ireland where her second child was born and she negotiated the daily vicissitudes of a different culture. In this episode she had left the hospital with her new baby girl. She happily accepted the offer to have a nurse visit her and the baby at home.
Her daughter is in college now but Betsy still remembers how helpful the nurse was—and knowledgeable and reassuring, which, in turn, made me remember the article I read not too long ago by David Bornstein, The Power of Nursing (NYT, May 16, 2012) about nurses who made regular home visits to at-risk pregnant women and continued these visits until their children reached the age of two. The program, Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP), conducted studies that demonstrated the visits improved both child and maternal health and financial self-sufficiency and provided a five to seven point boost to the I.Q of these children. Plus many more positive results.
NFP, which has been around since the ‘70s is implemented in forty states, empirically proves what many of us already know: nurses REALLY make a difference. Training paraprofessionals to do the nurses’ job didn’t yield the same outcomes.
We nurses do make a unique contribution. No one else can fill our shoes.
How lovely to read this today, and yes, the visit from the nurse was very welcome and helpful to me, alone in a foreign country with a new baby. I appreciate your remembrance of the story.
How could I forget your great “Irish” story about childbirth in a foreign country.
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I have followed a sweet little lady who has given birth to 9 children already. She gets her own “necessary things” together for the births–even bakes and ices a “birthday cake” (undecorated until she knows the gender of her child).
The little mother is probably around 100 lbs. when she is not pregnant and all her children start out small. However, here in the USA, such little ones are often labeled “failure to thrive,” which immediately gets red flag treatment–a serious problem to have.
We do over diagnose here in the US. And sometimes the treatment is worse that the “problem.”