This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Noel Martin, RN, CLC, Nursery/Labor & Delivery Nurse, and CHAMPS Nursing Team Leader at CHAMPS hospital Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was nominated for her wonderful contributions to the Baby-Friendly journey at Singing River and for her presentation on a Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle on skin-to-skin (STS) in the operating room (OR) following cesarean section. Noel completed and wrote up the PDSA with Neonatal Nurse & CHAMPS Team Leader Tina Fritz, RN, BSN, IBCLC. Then, Noel presented it on a CHAMPS conference call with team members from other CHAMPS hospitals throughout Mississippi that are also on the Baby-Friendly journey.
“Much to our frustration, STS in the OR after a C-section never seemed to go ‘right,’” Noel shared with CHAMPS.
This frustration became the impetus to do a PDSA, to see what could be changed to make this process better. She and Tina discussed different ways of not separating moms and babies at C-section delivery, while still navigating the reality of a surgical deliver and recovery. These ways included putting baby STS while mom is still on the OR table, then transferring mom and baby together to the bed from OR table; letting dad or significant other hold baby until mom is transferred to the bed from the OR table, then baby goes STS; and taking baby and dad/significant other to the recovery room and baby goes STS as soon as mom returns to recovery room from OR. As Noel attended C-sections, she tried these different options to see what kind of difficulties they ran into and how to navigate those difficulties.
“I personally like keeping the mom and infant in the OR and starting STS as soon as mom has been transferred to her recovery bed,” Noel said. “That way the STS can be completely uninterrupted once it has been started. If mom is under general anesthesia, then I take the infant to mom’s recovery room with dad or another family member. Once mom is awake and alert enough for STS, it is started.”
“The conference call attendees graciously gave me positive feedback on the PDSA presentation, and I also received a lot of advice from other hospitals that was extremely helpful. I think with the help of that PDSA we have improved our STS in the OR rates,” said Noel.
What personally motivates Noel to do the work she does?
“My work gratifies me,” she shared. “Newborns are AMAZING and to me birth never gets old. I love being a part of the best day of a woman's life. On the flip side, I also feel like on the worst day of her life I can bring her hope and hopefully ease a tiny bit of her pain. I cannot imagine ever doing anything else. I love the fact that I have the opportunity to make a positive impact on every family I meet. In this career there are highs and lows, but there is always a chance to have a positive impact on someone's life.”
Congratulations, Noel, and thank you for all that you do!
Congratulations to CHAMPS hospital Baptist Memorial Hospital – Golden Triangle (BMH-GT) in Columbus, Mississippi, for becoming Baby-Friendly designated on February 4, 2019! BMH-GT has approximately 900 births per year and a level II NICU.
“It feels exhilarating to be Baby-Friendly!” shares Susan Spencer, MSN, RNC-OB, IBCLC, Director of Women’s Services and CHAMPS Team Leader at BMH-GT. “This is a pinnacle in our careers as OB/Nursery nurses. The obstacles we overcame to achieve this designation seemed at times insurmountable. We persisted because there is so much at stake for babies and moms.”
BMH-GT’s Baby-Friendly journey began in August 2015. Susan says the greatest challenge was physicians telling patients there is no difference between breastfeeding and formula feeding, that it’s personal preference. The patients who were on the fence or undecided loved hearing this and felt absolved from even attempting, Susan says. The next greatest challenge came from family members who did not breastfeed and were not supportive.
These challenges and others were overcome, and the arduous journey now feels worth it, especially as Susan and her team receive feedback from well-informed women in their community who share their great experiences of giving birth at BMH-GT.
“In just one day after announcing designation I am overwhelmed by the responses from former patients in the past years saying that we had a change in culture,” Susan comments.
Susan would like to thank physician champions Dr. Pam Sykes, Dr. Andrea Morris, Dr. Christina Collins, and Dr. Pam Lacy for their invaluable contributions to the Baby-Friendly journey. She would also like to thank all nursing staff in the nursery and OB for following through with Baby-Friendly practices during the entire hospital stay; and nursing staff in Labor & Delivery for initiating the teaching and planting the seeds of the need to breastfeed.
What will Susan and her team focus on now that they are Baby-Friendly?
“We will focus on keeping our numbers for initiation of breastfeeding and exclusive breastfeeding growing, and we will focus on educating new staff. We have a goal of > 50% of all moms exclusively breastfeeding during their hospital stay,” says Susan.
Well done, BMH-GT, we are very proud of you!
Tina Fritz, RN, BSN, IBCLC, is Neonatal Nurse and CHAMPS Team Leader at CHAMPS Hospital Singing River Hospital in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was nominated as CHEER Champion of the Week for the incredible job she is doing as CHAMPS Team Leader!
“My greatest joy is attending a delivery as a neonatal nurse and adapting all of my care to promote breastfeeding and bonding,” Tina shares. “I am an oxytocin junkie. I love helping moms hold their new baby skin-to-skin on their chest right after delivery and coaching them through that first latch and breastfeeding. I love doing the baby's first bath with mom and family. I love the excitement and energy of the birth of a new baby. Being with parents during this special time really is a sacred privilege.”
Singing River Hospital, performing approximately 583 births per year and having a level II NICU, joined CHAMPS in 2017. They had already begun their Baby-Friendly journey, and they have continued to make great strides. Some of the challenges they have faced include coordinating patient education messages among different staff members and establishing their Baby-Friendly Task Force and coordinating meetings. Successes include increasing their breastfeeding and skin-to skin-rates.
“My motto at Singing River Hospital regarding our Baby-Friendly journey is ‘baby steps,’” says Tina. “My manager, Lori Weimer, always says, ‘How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.’ That is definitely how I see change happening at my hospital.”
When Tina is not at work, she volunteers as a leader with La Leche League of Ocean Springs/Biloxi. She is also a member of the South Mississippi Breastfeeding Coalition, and she enjoys running and staying active.
Tina’s positivity is evident and contagious, and she is extremely excited about the changes she sees both at her hospital and within Mississippi.
“What I love most about my job is seeing the culture of our Women's and Children's Department changing from one that routinely separated moms and babies and encouraged formula feeding to one that keeps moms and babies together and promotes breastfeeding. Our staff is committed to providing exceptional care to our patients,” Tina says.
“I am also thrilled about all of the changes that hospitals across Mississippi are making. I feel like this movement is historic! We really are helping to improve maternal and infant health through these practices,” she says.
Congratulations, Tina, on the difference you are making in countless lives!
This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Panayioula (“Yioula”) Mexi Bourna, IBCLC, MD, President of the Galaxias Association of International Certified Breastfeeding Consultants; member of the Breastfeeding Commission in the Greek Ministry of Health; Pediatrician; Neonatologist; and the Director of the neonatal unit at the University General Hospital Attikon in Athens, Greece. Yioula was nominated for her work in pioneering the development of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative (BFHI) in Greece.
“As stressful as it is to work in the neonatal unit, one of the most rewarding things is to see babies with many difficulties overcome their problems,” Yioula says. “But also, it is very enjoyable, and even relaxing, to do face-to-face consultations with new mothers for breastfeeding advice. It feels very natural to speak personally to women about how to feed, and it’s amazing to watch them grow more confident.”
In addition to her work at the hospital, Yioula has always been very involved in pushing policies to promote breastfeeding practices in Greece on an institutional level. Since there was no precedent for Baby-Friendly standards for Greek hospitals, Yioula was part of a committee that organized to write the guidelines for Baby-Friendly designation in Greece. Her membership in the Ministry of Health’s Breastfeeding Commission offers her the opportunity to also travel internationally and become aware of other policies.
“When I first started my career, there was nothing officially defined as ‘Baby-Friendly,’ or any policy supporting it,” Yioula shares. “But now, after all these years, there are four officially designated Baby-Friendly hospitals in Greece. By next year, there will be six.”
To keep the momentum of this going, Yioula organizes annual seminars and programs through the Galaxias Association, where peers present information and research, and collaborate to advance the BFHI in Greece. The efforts of doing this pioneering work should pay off and self-sustain as the new generation of Greek healthcare professionals and students gain access to knowledge and research that was not available for decades.
Congratulations, Yioula, and thank you for all that you do!
CHEER Champion of the week
Each Monday (besides public holidays), we will recognize a CHEER Champion for all the work they have done for CHEER (Center for Health Equity, Education, and Research)/CHAMPS (Communities and Hospitals Advancing Maternity Practices).