Bring on the Babies: Being A Postpartum/Newborn Nursery Nurse

strong>By Victoria Solis, RN
Methodist Dallas Medical Center

I love babies and I love nursing. So my choice for a place to care for others wasn’t a difficult one. The postpartum/newborn nursery unit is where I spend my work hours, and it’s where my heart is.

Achieving my ideal career followed a natural progression, thanks to Methodist Dallas Medical Center’s coordinated educational career development plan. I began working at Methodist Dallas in 2005 as a patient care tech on a float team which included El Centro Community College nursing students. After completing my second semester of school, I was able to take advantage of Methodist Health System’s nurse extern program. This provided me two eight-hour shifts a week during the school year and daily shifts during the summer. The experiences I gained from these opportunities were priceless. In 2006, I obtained my RN and began working exclusively in the postpartum/newborn nursery unit. I completed a preceptor course so I can help develop other nurses on the unit. My goal is to become certified in maternal-newborn nursing.

My nursing education was on target with what I needed to blossom as a caregiver. Classroom hours were mostly spent at Methodist Dallas in a conference room, viewing the instructor on a large-screen television. My clinicals were completed at the hospital in various units. I really felt that Methodist was supporting my career endeavors and helping me reach my nursing aspirations by providing educational space and real-world clinical experience.

Like most nurses, there have been brief moments when I’ve wondered if I made the right choice. But it doesn’t take long for reality to reinforce that, yes, I did make the right choice. For example, a couple of years ago I took care of a mother and her new baby. After the mom left the hospital, she sent me a card thanking me for caring for her and her newborn. A few weeks ago, I was in the cafeteria and this woman came up to me with her two-year-old. She remembered me and thanked me again for taking such good care of them. Moments like this make nursing all worthwhile.

While postpartum and newborn nursing are my life’s calling, there are some things that nurses need to consider before setting foot in this area.

  • Patience, patience, and more patience is absolutely required when caring for babies. Caring in the midst of a roomful of crying babies takes a special person.
  • Caring for new moms also requires patience, good listening skills, empathy, and objectivity. New moms have lots of questions. They can get very worried and experience a great deal of angst. You have to listen to the moms’ concerns and help them understand what’s normal and when to call the physician.
  • Managing time is extremely important. Every new mom requires something different. Every new mom must be taught many things before she and her newborn go home. One example is breastfeeding. This is a very personal issue and requires education and coaching. I’m proud of our lactation program because it’s been recognized with the Texas Ten Step award. Because we generally see the moms and babies for only two or three days, prioritizing tasks is critical to enable the nurse to spend quality time with each mom and baby.

I’m lucky because I always knew that I wanted to be a nurse. Even as a child, I remember doing little things for others to make them feel better. As a relatively new nurse, I think I have a valuable perspective for those currently in school.

  • Pick an area of nursing you really enjoy. This may not be readily apparent until after you complete some of your clinicals in the hospital.
  • Take any and all opportunities available to get more involved in the activities on your unit.
  • Consider going back to school to pursue higher levels of certifications and degrees after about a year of nursing experience.
  • Be a good role model on your unit and talk to your manager if you want to take on more responsibility.

Today’s nurses have so many options and so many opportunities. I found my niche in the postpartum/newborn nursery unit. I hope you find yours.

If your formula for an ideal nursing career includes babies and new moms, then it’s time to choose Methodist. Learn more by visiting Jobs.MethodistHealthSystem.org.

© Methodist Health System

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