This Week’s Champion is Dorie Walsh, BSN, RN-MNN. In her role as Transition Nurse for University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC), Dorie assumes the care of infants at mother’s bedside within the first 30 minutes of life. She was nominated because of her incredible passion for teaching mothers and helping them to facilitate successful skin to skin and breastfeeding while under her care.
“I have the desire to help each mother and child experience the joy and happiness that breastfeeding offers”, says Dorie. “I really feel that each mother we touch can change a baby’s life.”
Dorie started out her career at Ochsner Foundation Hospital New Orleans, where she worked as an RN from 1988 -1995. After this, she took a break for a few years and returned to work as a full time lactation consultant in 2002. For the next 14.5 years, she worked with the Merit Health System until she joined UMMC as Transition Nurse in 2017.
When asked about her motivation, Dorie replied that her work is motivated by motherhood. Upon the birth of her first daughter in 1990, she knew she would breastfeed because it was free, God given, and the best option for her baby. Over the years, she has learned a lot more about breastfeeding and become even more determined to help facilitate the process for other moms.
As a former IBCLC and an educator at heart, Dorie derives personal and professional fulfillment from helping her patients to breastfeed. “I have a love for teaching!” she shares excitedly. “I’ve been able to teach breastfeeding class, sibling’s class, and help countless moms over my 30 year career with breastfeeding. It has been my true life’s mission and calling.” She described how mothers are usually concerned and discouraged by the idea that they are not producing adequate milk for their babies, and expressed a conviction that these feelings can often be remedied through education and bedside assistance.
Although her career has always centered on newborn care, Dorie believes that it has evolved into something greater. In her current role, she has more opportunity to talk to her patients about why breast is best and how breastmilk is made. She seeks to impart an understanding of the wonder and uniqueness of the process, to empower moms and enable them to appreciate themselves and their bodies.
In addition to all her other accomplishments, Dorie is certified in Maternal Newborn Nursing, an AWHONN member, and a mother to two beautiful daughters.
Congratulations Dorie! Thanks for all your efforts to help mothers navigate challenges associated with breastfeeding.
Congratulations to Mississippi Baptist Medical Center (MBMC) on becoming officially Baby-Friendly designated on December 6, 2019. MBMC accounts for about 1774 births annually and operates a level III NICU.
“We are so excited to be the recipient of such a prestigious award. Our staff are quality driven and this is a true testament to their commitment to providing the best possible care for our mothers and babies,” expressed Roselynn Middleton, MSN, BSN, RN NE-BC Director of Women’s Operations at MBMC.
As expected with such a big change, the team initially struggled with implementing changes to their established practices and work flow when they began their Baby-Friendly journey three years ago. However, things changed for the better on August 13, 2018, when the Baby-Friendly Task force, a select group of highly engaged and motivated nurses from each area (Mother/baby, NICU, and L&D), took ownership of the initiative. They developed a system of mutual accountability and empowered the staff to drive the process using their Shared Governance model. “These nurses set the bar high and never wavered. It is through their hard work and commitment to excellence that we are able to say that we are now a Baby-Friendly facility,” Roselynn stated.
Through the Baby-Friendly process, the hospital has gotten to a place where mothers and babies are no longer separated, barring any complications. Breastfeeding has become a top-priority and the staff are now more dedicated to providing evidence-based Baby-Friendly care during those first crucial days of life. “We have seen so many positive strides and changes in our culture while on this journey,” Roselynn shares.
Roselynn would like to recognize the unit Nurse Managers, Amy Cross, Julie Prisock, Erica Shepard, the Baby Friendly Task Force, and every member of staff for their dedication and commitment to this venture. She offers special thanks to Becky Knapp, the CHAMPS advisor, Diana Johnston, MSN, RN for her endless trail of audits, Amy Swales for all of her assistance and guidance during the final days, the physician team who helped educate our patients prior to delivery, and the MBMC senior leadership team for all of their support.
The hospital is excited about what the future holds now that they are designated! Roselynn shared that they had a well-deserved staff celebration on December 19th, and the team will continue to maintain and support the Baby-Friendly practices knowing that they are providing moms and babies with the best possible start.
Congratulations, MBMC, on your Baby-Friendly designation!
Congratulations to our Hospital of the Week, Merit Health Biloxi, on becoming Baby-Friendly designated as of November 27th, 2019. Merit Biloxi is a 153 bed, acute care hospital, which conducts approximately 888 births per year and operates a level 2 NICU. They began their Baby-Friendly journey in 2016 and are delighted to be the first Baby-Friendly hospital on the MS gulf coast!
“I feel very proud because we’ve worked really hard to get here! We’re happy about this development as it is good for the hospital’s growth and competitiveness relative to other hospitals in the state,” shared Rebecca Yates, RN, CLC, Lactation Consultant and BFHI Team Lead at Biloxi.
Biloxi’s designation is a testament to the team’s resilience. Rebecca shared that early on in their journey, some staff were hesitant to implement aspects of Baby-Friendly. However with open communication and opportunities to address concerns one-on-one, staff started to fully embrace the process. “Once their individual concerns were resolved, the staff felt more positive about adopting BFHI practices,” Rebecca stated. “Achieving this change in perspective, in such a short time, has been a tremendous success for the team.”
Since they started on the Baby-Friendly pathway, Biloxi has recorded fewer cold and hypoglycemic babies. Rebecca described how the recommended practices have enriched mothers’ delivery experiences at the facility. She narrated that moms often express feeling more involved in the care of their babies than before. “Moms are much happier with the changes, they feel like active participants in the process and they like that everything is done right in front of them.”
When asked about the team’s future plans, Rebecca shared that they are currently planning a party to celebrate! Going forward, they intend to work on improving their exclusivity rates by providing better education to moms about the amount of breastmilk needed to nourish babies and the risk of formula, so moms feel more empowered to breastfeed exclusively.
Rebecca would like to recognize the entire unit staff at Biloxi for being instrumental in the process. Specifically, she wants to extend her appreciation to Jeff Thompson, who made a huge turnaround and was very supportive of the changes, and Cadie Griffing, for being her right hand person, helping to coordinate audits, and assisting with assessments.
Congratulations on your designation, Biloxi, we are very excited for you!
This week’s CHEER Champion is Christine Powell, AA, CLC, and Peer Counselor at the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), where she has worked on and off, since 1996, for a total of 11 years. She was nominated for her long-standing service to mothers in Greenwood, MS and her contributions during the last CHAMPS site visit to Greenwood Leflore Hospital.
“Breastfeeding is the natural thing to do for a baby, the benefits are immense to both mothers and babies,“ Christine says. As a mother of 7 with 18 grandkids, she has experienced firsthand results of breastfeeding and she believes that “it takes a village and moms need that support”. In her role as Peer Counselor, Christine provides education and lactation support through breastfeeding classes, clinics, home and hospital visits for breastfeeding mothers. She facilitates monthly classes at Greenwood Leflore Hospital and was present at their most recent site visit, during which she gave excellent input and insight on the role of WIC in supporting mothers after discharge.
Christine was very excited about the CHAMPS visit to GLH, she enjoyed seeing the support that CHAMPS provides to them as they navigate the Baby Friendly pathway. She is happy about the changes the hospital is making and believes it has been a long time coming. She says the recently launched lactation room is a “wonderful and very much needed change for staff and patients who are breastfeeding.”
When asked what motivates her to do breastfeeding work, Christine described the historical issues that have resulted in misconceptions around breastfeeding in MS. “People have stopped breastfeeding for so long that what was once a natural and easy process has become quite difficult” she says. “When I first started out, I didn’t know how much work it would take to support moms in breastfeeding because it was no longer the norm.” Christine aims to help mothers to bridge the knowledge gap and fulfill their goal of nursing their babies!
When she was not being a Peer Counselor, Christine worked in a correctional facility where she continued educating the men on how to support their partners in breastfeeding. “It was big to be able to do that with the male population” she says. Christine also provides lactation support and education to church members on breastfeeding.
Congratulations Christine, thank you for your many years of service!
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).