This week’s CHEER Champion of the Week is Tracy Sims, RN, CLS, Clinical Coordinator of the Newborn Nursery and CHAMPS Team Lead at Merit Health Madison in Canton, Mississippi. She has done an excellent job coordinating the Baby-Friendly journey at Merit Health Madison!
“When we began the Baby-Friendly journey my first thought was, ‘this will never work,’ but as we took baby steps not only did I see it can and does work, but it is the sweetest thing to see babies go skin-to-skin and find their way their ‘lunch,’” Tracy shares.
Tracy says the Baby-Friendly journey at Merit Health Madison has had its challenges but also its surprisingly smooth transitions. For example, she says, “getting everyone on board” was “the most challenging” aspect. Yet this was eased by “wonderful support” from their CNO, Tim Lolly, MSN, and their Director of Women’s Services, Carmen Alexander, PhD. Another challenge was figuring out the logistics of having a nurse remain in the room with the baby for the transition period, but this worked itself out. Tracy says the nurses had to get used to doing heel sticks on the babies in front of the parents, but now they are used to it and “wonder why it was such a big deal.” And the rooming-in, says Tracy, turned out to be “much easier on staff” because now they are not bringing babies back and forth throughout the stay.
“I am really excited about our hospital becoming a Baby-Friendly hospital and about the change in perception of breastfeeding in Mississippi,” Tracy says.
CHAMPS staff members were surprised when, on a recent CHAMPS mock survey at Merit Health Madison, Tracy was in a wheelchair with two broken feet. Tracy is so modest she had never mentioned her injury on her calls with CHAMPS!
Tracy shares, “When I first broke my feet one of my first thoughts was, ‘OH NO!!!...We have a mock survey with CHAMPS in 30 days and I am going to let the hospital down.’”
She says her director obtained approval for her to come to work in a wheelchair and focus only on getting the hospital prepared for the survey. She says this was a “blessing in disguise” because before she had been focused on staffing, and the accident gave her the opportunity to prepare for the survey.
Tracy says her favorite parts about her job are the people she works with and being able to help moms care for their babies. She says the administration is “great” and that they have a “great group of neonatologists and nurse practitioners” who have been supportive of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. Tracy has had a long nursing career and has worked in several areas: ICU, ER, NICU, Same Day Surgery, Minor Surgery, and Newborn Care.
“These last 9 years in Newborn Care at this sweet little hospital has been the perfect way for me to wrap up my nursing career,” says Tracy.
Congratulations, Tracy, on a wonderful career and on all your efforts to serve mothers and babies at Merit Health Madison!
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).