While she is a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM), Niki Pearce, MSN, CNM, recounts her care of a patient, who had a problem outside of her area of expertise. She was able to make a difference in this patient’s life by coordinated collaboration and follow-through.
Sally B. came to me for her annual gynecology exam a few years late. She was at least 100 pounds overweight and starting to exhibit the comorbidities that go along with severe obesity. She avoided most doctor visits because she was tired of hearing “eat less and exercise more” as the answer to any complaint. As a nurse midwife, I have the privilege of seeing women throughout their life cycle for routine and problem care.
We quickly dispatched with her exam when I asked her where she was in her weight journey. I acknowledged that weight loss was more than strict dieting and hard exercise and while I didn’t have all the answers, I could help her find resources if she was ready. I pointed out the many strengths Sally had which led me to believe she was capable of achieving weight loss that would improve her health.
While her motivation was high, I was able to get collaboration with our Bariatric Institute and physical therapy. A sleep study revealed obstructive sleep apnea and labs indicated low Vitamin D. Again, I collaborated with various disciplines to coordinate her care but also selected providers who would treat Sally in a manner that would continue to motivate her.
A year later Sally came to see me weighing almost 100 pounds lighter. She said her eight-year-old son remarked how nice it was to be able to put his arms around her. She now lives a healthy lifestyle and keeps up with her health maintenance appointments, including her annual exam with me.
As nurses, we have the opportunity to impact the people we care for even outside our area of expertise. It is the ability to make a difference in patients’ lives that motivates me and gives me passion for nursing.