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Meditations on Maternity

Published March 3, 2012 10:14 AM by Frank Visco

I am a few weeks into my maternity clinical, and so far it has been a really enjoyable experience. It is jarring, if not surprising, how different the entire vibe is compared to an oncology floor. I had a good experience with oncology last semester, particularly with the patients I was assigned, but, by and large, those patients (and their family members) were unhappy to be in the hospital. On maternity, it's completely different. Although there is the possibility for extreme tragedy, everyone is stoked and excited to be there most of the time, and that's making it a cool place to spend every other Saturday.

Leading up to this clinical, I was worried how I'd be received as a male student. A peer of mine ran into some problems with a mom who felt uncomfortable with him conducting an assessment and providing her with care, but so far I've had positive experiences. The moms I've been tasked with taking care of have been roughly my age, and it has been easy to forge bonds with them and their families.

I'm fighting feelings of inadequacy in this lab because most of my peers have kids themselves and are more than a few steps ahead of me. That being said, one of my moms was a first-time parent with no experience with infants, and it felt rewarding to do simple things like teach her how to hold her daughter, change a diaper, and all the rest. My wife and I haven't had the experience of having a child yet, but at least I have a niece who has prepared me for the basics of infant care.

Working in the nursery has been an interesting experience as well. I've had the opportunity to do several assessments (which go a lot smoother on the babies), give a HepB shot and witness half a dozen circumcisions. Meanwhile, I've yet to observe a birth or visit the NICU (my turn hasn't come up yet), but that's giving me something to look forward to in the coming weeks.

I'm now off for a few weekends due to spring break -- a good thing since I have a paper and quite a few care plans to catch up on -- but I am feeling like a way more integral part of the hospital staff this semester, so while I plan to enjoy the time off, I am excited to get back on the floor.


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