Lee-Ann Parker and Dana Taylor

Q&A with Our Midwives: Helping Women of All Ages on Their Health Journeys

Oct 7 2021

Happy National Midwifery Week, a time to celebrate and recognize midwives and midwife-led care.

Midwives play a key part in every community. They believe every person has a right to equitable, ethical, accessible, quality health care. Additionally, women are empowered by the midwifery model of care, which fosters compassionate collaborations and personalizes care based on each person’s life experiences and expertise.

Learn more about our ministry’s midwives with Lee-Ann Parker, RN, MSN, CNM (pictured above, left), and Dana Taylor, RNC, MS, CNM, WHNP-BC (pictured above, right), both from our Richmond market.

Q: Can you describe your role at Bon Secours?

A: Our role is to provide high-quality and high-touch care for women seeking care of a certified nurse midwife (CNM). We care for women from adolescence through menopause and everything in-between.

We are specialists in low intervention births; however, we feel strongly in supporting a woman’s right to have the birth they desire. That includes providing care to women who desire pain medication and even an epidural.

We also support women who desire or need a C-section by being with them throughout the process: during their prenatal visit, in the OR and seeing them through recovery.

Finally, CNMs are so much more than just “catching the baby.” We partner with women throughout their life for pregnancy, preventative care and if problems arise.

Q: How has your past experience prepared you to handle the day-to-day challenges you face in your role?

A: As health care providers, we are always ready to assess, handle, fix or assist with referrals to the betterment and resolution of health concerns with our patients. However, specifically the magnitude and unknown of COVID-19 has tested our skills, our heart and our resolve.

We have had to think faster, work harder and multitask more than we could ever have imagined.

We have answered that call and will continue to serve and care for our patients with the compassion and love we have always shown, along with the latest medical research and advice science has to offer.

Q: Can you describe your reaction to being called upon to serve on the frontlines during a pandemic?

A: Our reactions were unanimous and instantaneous. As a group, we banded together and jumped in feet first. We had to plan quickly for our safety, our patients’ safety and how to care for our patients without sacrificing the high level of care we are known for.

Q: Describe some of your main responsibilities throughout a given day.

A: As CNMs, we are nurse practitioners that care for women from young teenagers through childbearing years and into menopause. We work in the office, caring for women of all ages and needs, while also caring for women who are in the hospital for birth and or pregnancy-related complications.

Q: What do you enjoy the most about your job?

A: We love helping families through pregnancy and birth, but our favorite part is the relationships we build through the care journey. Caring for a teenager as they begin their young adult life, through college, marriage and then childbirth – having her come back for well woman care, this is such a special bond and is life-long!

It is just as special to meet a new patient in the prime of her life or in retirement and needing annual exams or have complications we can fully explain and help with.

Building trust with our patients, listening with an open heart, helping to navigate the care a woman needs, the care she deserves with a plan she and her family trust is the hallmark of our career.

Q: How have you seen the faith-based aspect of our ministry lived out?

A: The faith-based ministry is clear in our ability to care for indigent patients who have needs, our ability to pray with patients and offer care based on what the patient needs and not what a patient can afford.

Q: How do your teammates support each other? What would you like to say to them?

A: We have a very special group and work in a collaborative practice. This means doctors and midwives work together to provide the best care for patients. When we have a woman who needs a higher level of care but still wants a midwife, our physician partners join us on that journey. This makes sure the patient receives attention without neglecting her desire to have midwifery care.

Q: With COVID-19 specifically, how are you living life differently now having experienced everything you’ve gone through?

A: Living with the reality of COVID-19 makes us more aware of our own health, our families’ health as well as the challenges that our patients face. We are very creative in making sure our patients’ needs are met by using video visits, phone calls or whatever it takes to keep our level of commitment for care to our patients.

We do not think we can go back to practicing without virtual care options and have realized that there will always be a need in some patients. Figuring out how to meet those needs with as little impact to our clients and maximum amount of care and support is a positive outcome over the course of COVID-19. We will always remember this and implement these changes into practice for the betterment of care delivery and patient satisfaction.

Learn more about the women’s health services we offer at Bon Secours.

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