OkaZHI: Okanagan-Zambia Health Initiative

Back to Basics

Last week the three of us (Lauren, Ali, and Robyn) were on the Maternity Ward.  On Monday morning a woman was in labour and we had the opportunity to see the birth of her beautiful baby girl before the end of our shift.  From our experience on the maternity ward we have gained a new appreciation for the obstetric practices back home. One thing that we seemed to value the most was the way we involve family members back home.  We encourage family to be with the patient and comfort them, whereas here family members are not allowed on the Maternity Ward at all. This leaves the patient all alone during such a vulnerable time.  We recognized this while our first laboring mom was in the delivery room and took it upon ourselves to comfort her as best we could. There was a strong language barrier between us, but from her body language we could tell that she appreciated when we rubbed her back and aching legs, and provided her with a cool cloth.  We knew we made a connection when she started to ask us for assistance by addressing us as “madam.”  
It is clear that there is a cultural difference in how we view the birthing process.  At home it is important for a nurse to be with a laboring mom at all times and we felt that it was important to stay with this mom.  Some of the nurses on the ward thought it was strange that we were with this mom for such a long period of time, but we realized this was something that we valued and felt was important.  
Although our first day on the Maternity Ward wasn’t what we were expecting, we feel that we learned the most about ourselves and our values.  At home we can often be too task oriented and we can easily forget how important bedside nursing is and being present with a patient.  This was a good reminder on the difference we can make in a person’s experience; the littlest things can have the biggest impact. 
– Lauren, Ali & Robyn

Leave a comment