I don’t think most people understand the work schedule of a nurse midwife. The BBC’s Call the Midwife series is outstanding. At the end of the show, usually with tears streaming down my face regardless what happened in the show, I still think most people have no idea what a nurse midwife does during the day. To that end, here’s a brief look into a day of this nurse midwife.
My day starts with an alarm that goes off between 5:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. I also might be awake if the baby recently nursed, but most days I crawl back into bed for an extra 5 minutes of warmth and comfort. Working out occasionally happens at this time but is definitely not routine. Once awake, the little warriors need good mornings, brushed teeth and dressing, before stampeding downstairs for breakfast. While juggling Cheerios, scrambled eggs, packing my lunch, and bottle prep for daycare, I coordinate work schedules and kid pick up one last time with the husband. Kisses are given and we pile into the care. Thankfully daycare is only 5 minutes away and drop off usually takes less than 10 minutes.
The drive from daycare to the hospital is a glorious, quiet 8 minutes in which there is coffee sipping (or gulping) while mentally prepping for the day. Once at the hospital, my day starts in one of two places – clinic or labor and delivery. In the clinic, I’m in the office by 7:20 a.m., ready for a team meeting by 7:30 a.m. Patient care generally starts at 8:00 a.m. (sometimes even at 7:30 a.m.) and continues through 11:30 a.m. Patient appointments are 20 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour. I can see all OB (obstetrics), or a mix of OB and GYN (gynecology). It’s not uncommon for a morning schedule to look like this:
8:00 24 week routine OB visit
8:20 Birth control consult
8:40 Dysplasia patient – pap due
9:00 New OB patient
10:00 Postmenopausal bleeding
10:30 Mirena IUD placement
11:00 8 week postpartum appointment
11:30 38 week routine OB visit
Lunch is always at my desk while I am trying to finish charting on the morning patients. I often call patients with lab results at this time, or work on telephone consults that need completion. These phone calls can be a review of pap smear results, a STD (sexually transmitted disease) result that needs a phone call, a normal/abnormal genetic screening, a positive urine culture, a GBS (group beta strep) bacteruria in need of treatment, FMLA (family medical leave act) paperwork…etc. I’m also shuffling through papers on my desk that need signatures – breast pump prescriptions, physical therapy consults, inpatient chart sign offs. Additionally, there are patient requests for letters to travel, letters to work less, and many more patient specific requests.
The afternoon resumes a clinic schedule very similar to the morning. Clinic generally ends with the last patient at 3:40 p.m. or 4:00 p.m. followed by a little rush to tie up loose ends on open charts or to find a stopping place to resume charting tomorrow. Did I mention we chart a lot? I try to get out of the office by 5:00 p.m. to pick up the babes but occasionally can sneak a work out in here. This is generally my favorite time to work out if I can for two reasons: it gives me a boost of energy to tackle the rest of the day and my mind enjoys the monotony of a work out after a jam packed day. At home, dinner, bath and bed routines are accomplished. After the babes are asleep (usually by 7:00 p.m.), I complete the usual circuit of toy pick up, rotate the dishwasher, rotate the laundry and prep coffee for the morning. It’s the evening time that I get to pick up something quiet (a book or school assignment) and let my mind mull over the day’s patients, diagnoses, or meetings that happened.
A day on labor and delivery is a little different…for that day’s details, tune in next week.