Jeannette Yazzie, eMBA, BSN, RN, is the Nurse Consultant / Chief Nurse for the Indian Health Service (IHS) - Navajo Area, Chair of the Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force, and a member of the Navajo tribe. Jeannette worked with all Navajo Area federal IHS and tribal hospitals (Chinle, Gallup, Shiprock, Crownpoint, Tuba City, and Tsehootsooi) to achieve Baby-Friendly status, as well as with Zuni and Hopi IHS hospitals. All sites successfully gained Baby-Friendly designation!
Jeannette oversees all nurses in the Navajo area. This includes public health nurses and nurses in hospitals, ambulatory clinics and outpatient departments. She provides guidance, resources, references, support and recommendations; conducts nursing program reviews; recruits nurses; coordinates tribal health initiatives, serves as a tribal liaison; and oversees projects such as the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. She is part of the executive staff at the IHS regional office; whenever nursing consultation is needed, she is the person contacted for her region.
The Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force meets monthly to support each other and share accomplishments, challenges, resources and data. They networked with other Areas (regions) and continue to meet to discuss and strategize regarding the Area Sustainability Plan for maintaining Baby-Friendly status. Jeannette also visited hospitals to meet with staff, review progress, be a cheerleader, participate in mock reviews, be present for the Baby-Friendly reviews, and offer support as needed.
“It was exciting to see everyone within the Area and within hospitals come together and work as a unit toward a goal,” says Jeannette. The Navajo Area Baby-Friendly Task Force received recognition by the IHS Area Director for outstanding group performance.
When asked to share her advice with other hospitals seeking to become Baby-Friendly, Jeannette says: “Becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital does not happen overnight and it does require a dedicated group of people who are committed, enthused, and willing to do what needs to be done. Be prepared to hang in there for the long haul! The reward at the end though is just marvelous and very exciting!!”
Angie Williamson, RNC, BSN, is the Maternal-Child Director and CHAMPS Team Lead at King’s Daughters Medical Center (KDMC) in Brookhaven, Mississippi. She has worked at KDMC for 27 years. KDMC joined the CHAMPS initiative on May 20, 2015 and formally entered the Baby-Friendly pathway on February 18, 2016. Angie has done a wonderful job getting nurses and doctors on board!
Angie feels “overwhelmed but hopeful” about beginning the Baby-Friendly journey. The first change KDMC is addressing is skin-to-skin after birth, with which they have had initial “excellent results.” Skin-to-skin following vaginal delivery is now going smoothly and they are working on skin-to-skin following cesarean section.
Angie shared 2 moving stories about skin-to-skin at KDMC. In the first story, a mother expecting her 5th child and who had lost 1 child due to hypertension, was admitted at 34 weeks. She delivered a “beautiful 34-week-old baby” by cesarean section and was able to successfully experience skin-to-skin. After about 15 minutes, the baby “latched on like a champ [and] breastfed for 45 minutes.” In the second story, a baby delivered by cesarean section was not able to go skin-to-skin with the mother because they needed to use general anesthesia. The father was waiting outside the room, worried for his partner and baby. They told him they were going to place the baby skin-to-skin on his chest below his T-shirt, and he looked at them “as if they were crazy.” Once the baby was on him, though, his worried and suspicious looks turned to laughter. There was an immediate bond between him and his baby and he felt part of the experience.
Angie is grateful to KDMC CEO Alvin Hoover, CFO Randy Pirtle, Chief Nursing Officer Cheri Walker, Lactation Counselor Lou Ann Wall, and Charge Nurse Lisa Spring for leading the Baby-Friendly charge with her, and to CHAMPS for all their help.
Congratulations to Tuba City Regional Health Care Corporation (TCRHCC), located in Tuba City, Arizona, for being designated Baby-Friendly on February 28, 2016! TCRHCC is a small tribal hospital located in Navajo Nation. Their Obstetrics (OB) Unit has 5 labor/delivery/recovery rooms, 3 private postpartum rooms, 2 semi-private postpartum rooms and a 2-bed level II nursery for stabilizing high-risk newborns and for special procedures. CHAMPS interviewed Amanda Heffernan, MSN, CNM, IBCLC, Certified Nurse-Midwife and Lactation Consultant at TCRHCC, who shared their Baby-Friendly journey with us.
Amanda led the Baby-Friendly Task Force at TCRHCC along with Mildred Garcia, MSN, RN, Director of Clinical Education, and Sara Jager, MD, Pediatrician and Director of the newborn nursery. Maria Lennon, MSN, CNM, IBCLC, former staff Midwife and currently per diem, kickstarted the Baby-Friendly process at TCRHCC. Diana Hu, MD, Pediatrician, and Amanda Leib, MD, Chief of OB-GYN, were other key players.
Their journey began in 2012 when Maria and Mildred began educating hospital leadership and OB staff about the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative process and goals. In 2013, they began standardizing skin-to-skin. In 2013 and 2014, they completed their staff education requirements. In 2014, they began offering skin-to-skin in the OR for cesarean patients, which Amanda describes as “very exciting.” In 2015, they focused on prenatal breastfeeding education in the clinic, and in the hospital, they focused on teaching safe formula preparation, teaching hand expression, and ensuring that as many infant procedures as possible were done at the bedside. Moving blood draws and procedures to the bedside was one of their biggest challenges. A few nurses are now experimenting with blood draws and needlesticks at the breast.
Amanda says, “We feel that the care we provide now is gentler, more family-centered, and more evidence-based than ever before. We can offer patients a clinically excellent birth and postpartum experience, while maintaining a kind, human touch…We are a small tribal hospital operating in a very rural area with a limited budget. If we can do it, you can do it!”
Sheuvune Cooper is a Lactation Specialist for WIC at the Mississippi Department of Health in Hancock County, MS. Through her position with WIC, Sheuvune splits her time between the WIC office and CHAMPS hospital Hancock Medical Center (HMC). Sheuvune also volunteers as a breastfeeding advocate in the community. Her outstanding commitment to breastfeeding makes her a true CHAMPion!
Sheuvune teaches several classes at WIC, including prenatal classes, postnatal classes, breastfeeding classes for fathers and grandparents, and breastfeeding classes for mothers returning to work. Through WIC, she also leads breastfeeding support groups at HMC for mothers who have just delivered. She also often assists mothers with skin-to-skin and the first latch. Many of these mothers are mothers she has known previously through WIC. “When they see a familiar face and it’s their first time having baby, moms tend to relax,” Sheuvune says. As a member of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative Task Force at HMC, Sheuvune helps to educate doctors and nurses on breastfeeding best practices. She has especially enjoyed teaching staff that babies do not need formula to feel full. Sheuvune is proud to report that HMC is now doing skin-to-skin for 100% of vaginal deliveries and has taken formula out of the room; no mother receives formula in the first 24-48 hours after birth unless she requests it.
In all her free time, Sheuvune volunteers as a La Leche League support group assistant at HMC and as a breastfeeding and parenting educator at Promiss House, a program for underprivileged and homeless women in Gautier, MS. Sheuvune also helps mothers with breastfeeding questions and problems over the phone and at their homes. These mothers know Sheuvune through WIC, HMC, and some of them find her on Facebook. Sheuvune is a mother of 4 children including a set of twins; she breastfed each of them for 2 years. She attends nursing school at MS Gulf Coast Community College and is awaiting her test results for the CLC exam.
CHEER Champion of the week
Each week, 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).