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Though there are thousands of different healthcare jobs and hundreds of differing nursing career paths, few are more rewarding than those that lead to interactions with newborns. Working with parents who are thrilled to expand their family and excited to bring a new bundle of joy home is a wonderful opportunity. It can bring a lot of happiness into your career.
It may come as a surprise, but there are a variety of jobs out there for those interested in working in healthcare with babies. Passionate people who are serious about ensuring the safety and comfort of not only the newborns, but their parents as well, can make a profound difference. Specializations such as these can vastly improve the quality of care received at the very beginning of life.
As you explore potential careers in nursing, it is certainly worth considering some of the options available. There just might be a lot more out there than you’d ever previously considered.
Improving Birth Outcomes
Working in the healthcare field as a nurse interacting with newborns and their parents isn’t just about being in the delivery room when the baby arrives. Rather, it is about all of the steps along the way and immediately after that improve birth outcomes. Being the nurse who provides recommendations on exercise and what to eat during pregnancy is every bit as crucial as being the nurse who cuts the umbilical cord.
Even with all of the modern medicine our society has, there is still an increasing trend of complications during pregnancy compared to previous decades. One study completed by Blue Cross found that a greater number of women are starting pregnancy with pre-existing conditions, and the number of women experiencing both pregnancy and childbirth complications is on the rise. Addressing some of these health concerns early on is imperative to improving birth outcomes.
Unfortunately, many of these complications are experienced disproportionately amongst minority women and women with lower household incomes. One tragic review found that the risk of death from childbirth complications was over three times higher for minority women than it was for white women. Many experts indicated that these increases are not necessarily linked directly to pregnancy, but rather to an increased likelihood of pre-existing conditions and a general lack of high-quality care to address issues.
Specialties in Nursing
Fortunately, there are a lot of opportunities to turn these statistics around in the healthcare field, especially within nursing. It is no secret that nurses are one of the most highly trusted groups of professionals — even more so than doctors — which can make the advice and recommendations they give particularly powerful. Career opportunities for nurses to work with babies are expansive and include options such as going into pediatrics, neonatal nursing, labor and delivery, or midwifery.
For example, becoming a nurse-midwife provides an unparalleled opportunity to interact directly with expecting parents and newborns when they arrive. Midwives are instrumental healthcare providers and are expected to do several tasks such as:
- Providing prenatal care and advice to expecting parents.
- Creating a birth plan and educating women about their birthing options.
- Coordinating with medical doctors and specialists as necessary.
- Treating routine health concerns during pregnancy.
- Assisting in delivery and coaching.
- Helping with breastfeeding consultation and other post-partum care.
A career path such as this also has the potential to make a positive impact on addressing disparities among minority women as well. Research suggests that more professionals dedicated to helping women throughout pregnancy and postpartum care can greatly reduce health risks. This appears to be especially true if minority nurses are working with minority patients.
Though many of the career options described above have a lot to do with directly caring for newborns, other surprising options may seem a little more distant. They are, however, every bit as essential to improving birth outcomes long-term. For instance, lactation consultants are valuable assets who work to help teach new mothers how to breastfeed properly.
Another career opportunity is becoming a birth or postpartum doula. This position essentially serves as a ‘super coach’ for expectant mothers. They do everything from providing aromatherapy and massage to helping design an organized and effective baby nursery. Doulas can play a major role in helping mothers with pre-existing conditions plan healthy meals or monitor their conditions to ensure everything continues to go smoothly for mother and baby.
Some people even specialize in prenatal or infant massage as a means of helping mothers and babies. Prenatal massage requires special certification that teaches therapists how to relax and ease strain without harming pregnant bellies. Similarly, infant massage professionals help early babies improve blood flow and strengthen their tiny muscles.
There is certainly an abundance of healthcare and nursing-specific careers that can allow for direct interaction with newborns and their families. Caring professionals in these types of fields can make a substantial positive difference in birth outcomes. This is especially true in areas where access to healthcare isn’t always as prevalent.
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