Martha Furbush of CWN-9

When a group of mothers wrote to the Brigham about elements of the postpartum experience that were difficult for them, nurses and nursing leaders took their feedback to heart and set out to create a more supportive environment.

The families who shared their experiences had prenatal diagnoses that required their babies to be transported to the NICU or to Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) for critical care immediately after birth while the mothers received postpartum care at the Brigham.

In these cases, many aspects of the typical postpartum experience in the hospital — such as hearing other infants cry and seeing posters on the walls encouraging skin-to-skin contact — were emotionally painful.

Nursing Director Claire Zaya, MSN, RN, NE-BC, RNC-MNN, shared the families’ feedback with the Postpartum Practice Council, which guided the following changes:

  • Creating a separate area to care for these mothers on the unit away from the postpartum/well-newborn nursery
  • Working with Central Transport to improve access to Boston Children’s Hospital with additional wheelchairs and staff to transport parents.
  • Partnering with Police and Security to obtain BCH identification cards for staff and parents to facilitate access to BCH.
  • Collaborating with Engineering to remove posters promoting skin-to-skin care in postpartum rooms and distributing this information to appropriate patients in different ways.
  • Developing a welcome packet for NICU and BCH families admitted to the unit to address their unique circumstances and needs.

Why it’s Magnet: Magnet designation requires an example of nurses partnering with patients, families or both to influence change as part of the Exemplary Professional Practice (EP3) component of the Magnet model. This is one of many examples throughout the Brigham demonstrating how nurses collaborate with patients and families to improve their experience and ensure they feel welcome, safe, respected and cared for. It’s who we are.