Overheard NICU Nurse “I Don’t DO Breastfeeding”
I just overheard a comment from a potential new experienced NICU nurse (we open in July!) where she actually said .. out loud .. during her interview to the many interviewers and our manager (who happens to be an IBCLC) …….
“I don’t DO Breastfeeding”
What. The. Hell. Does. That. Mean?
So I thought… perhaps this young girl is just grossly uneducated. Perhaps she is so inundated with the detailed scientific absolutes of NICU management that she was only making comments related to direct breastfeeding. Surely she can’t be talking about actually thinking breastfeeding isn’t the best care for her small vulnerable patients!!
I’m afraid I may be wrong…
I’m afraid she may get hired……
Well– that’s OK… I’ll work to gently re-educate her about breastfeeding while she helps me learn NICU care!
I was wondering how to approach a post about this when I was notified by Melodie (@bfmom) encouraging feedback from her latest post on “Breastfeeding Moms Unite” blog entitled Do Nurses Learn about Breastfeeding in Nursing School? a guest article by Jennifer Johnson who writes about Nurse Practitioner Schools.
Here was my comment on that post:
“ Sad but true…
I- of course- had my training a thousand years ago and there was only about a 30 min section of one class covering mostly anatomy & physiology of lactation…. not much on management of breastfeeding. That may have been it. I have no recollection of really helping any mom during my OB rotation in school. The nurses owned the babies back then and they stayed in the nursery most of the time!
My experience at 3 different hospitals from 1974 thru 1981 before I intensely studied lactation has been that a prevailing approach or “policy” was followed by all duty nurses “just because” or “because the doctor wants his moms to follow these rules”.
There was no current research or evidence to back anything up. One nurse then taught the next new nurse this incorrect, outdated information and so on. This practice still exists in many areas and unfortunately, they don’t know or realize they are wrong. The mothers were then given very little if any instruction.. mostly incorrect. Dated textbooks were the only resources.
Now things are much better in many areas. Lactation education is just starting to be recognized as an important piece for nursing and medical schools. The true recognized lactation experts are IBCLC’s. Those other professionals who have been formally educated in lactation, and remain current, can provide sound effective management advice. LLLL’s are awesome and also have some good educational background to become leaders.
Nurses today who work with mother’s and babies should and must have sound lactation management education.
Everybody should do their part and write letters to the editor of their paper/ or their hospital’s board to ask for this. JCAHO is now measuring exclusive breastfeeding as a perinatal core measure. This has become a catalyst for change for many facilities. It is for ours. We were given a presentation on this yesterday.
I do what I can. I have annual educational competencies usually coinciding with WBW. I also now have 3 nursing schools which come thru our department who utilize my PowerPoint Presentations as an education requirement in their curriculum! Good for them !! “
We have so much to do to help spread the word about the importance of current evidence-based lactation education for the professionals of our nation. Our mother’s and babies depend on us. Don’t they??? Shouldn’t they be able to??
We need to get it right!