Nursing Notes

November 22, 2009

Alabama RN says Nurse-Family Partnership is dream job

Breastfeeding an infant
Image via Wikipedia

Here is another nurse who used her nursing education and skills to find a nursing job that is “outside” the box.

She states that she loves the job, but agrees that not everyone should or could handle it.  I have to agree with her.  When I was working Psychiatric home health, I went into places that others would fear, but that was the life of my patients.  It seems the same in this instance.

New mothers today come from all walks of life, may be single and may or may not have support.  They may or may not even know the father of their child, but they want to be good mothers.

In days gone by, new mothers were surrounded by the females in the family and given education, support and guidance.  We have lost that treasure but it appears that nurses are trying to return some of that experience to the communities.

If this kind of nursing appeals to you, don’t hesitate to look into it.  Contact the source of this article to get more information if you need it.

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One nurse’s story

By Teri Greene

Patty Galloway has been by the side of mothers as young as 12. Some live in poverty and have no contact with their children’s fathers. Some have limited family support, while others have no support at all.

A year ago, Galloway was among the first nurses hired for the Nurse-Family Partnership, part of the Gift of Life Foundation. It’s a local program that reaches out to low-income, first-time mothers to help ensure the health and future success of both mother and child.

When Galloway heard about the opportunity last November, when the program was just getting started, she thought to herself, “Man! This is my dream job,” she said. “I love the one-on-one teaching, getting to know your client, becoming part of their world.”

Galloway, who is mom to a 13-year-old and a 20-year-old, said she serves as “a support person and a cheerleader” in every aspect of her clients’ lives.

One challenge is keeping the moms’ environment positive.

“So many people we see are surrounded by negativity,” she said. “There is no one to say, ‘You can do this. I believe in you.'”

She cited research that shows that children who were part of NFPs benefit from the program well into their teen years as they hit more of their developmental milestones, finish school and avoid drug use, run-ins with the law and incarceration.

As for the mothers, they’re getting jobs, continuing their education past high school and getting out of the welfare system.

A lot of Galloway’s job is visiting the home, observing potential safety hazards or complications, such as second-hand smoke and cleanliness, as well as emotional interactions with family. Most moms are single, and some have mothers or grandmothers on hand to help them.

Not all of them are that lucky, however.

“There is a paper we give them that asks, ‘Who are my supports?’ and it lists each thing: Who can help me with baby care? Who can take me to the doctor? They write down the names and their phone numbers.

“I’ve had a client who gave me the sheet said, ‘I have no one.’ I said, ‘You do now. Put Miss Patty on there.’

“Their lives are topsy-turvy, controlled chaos,” she said of some of her clients and their relationships “with the baby’s daddy, between them and their moms, where they’re going to live. We’ve had some who have been displaced. It’s always something. Maybe the neighborhoods aren’t safe. All kinds of things surface.”

Galloway said the program might not be a good fit for every nurse.

“Some would not feel comfortable going into the neighborhood, just taking things as they are and accepting clients and working with what’s there,” she said. “We have books, we have nursing skills, but it takes a lot of interpersonal skills to do this job, too.”

There is a checklist: How is the client doing physically? Is the environment safe? Are they pursuing an education? Do they have family planning knowledge?

They also talk about epidurals, breastfeeding, prevention of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), personal relationships, emotional stress — whatever topic is pressing at the moment.

And the clients help the program, too, regularly answering “How we’re doing” questionnaires about their nurses’ contributions.

One time, Galloway had a very quiet client. She wasn’t sure the rapport was helping the mom-to-be. She handed the evaluation sheet over.

“I said, ‘be as honest as you can be. You’re not going to hurt Miss Patty’s feelings. It’s going to help me be better.'”

On her next visit, Galloway looked at what the client had written and she almost cried.

“You haven’t had the experience I’ve had,” the client had written, “but I know that you care about me.”

You can read the original article here

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