Safety First but there is more to the mission in maternity: It’s Time for Maternity Nurse Leaders and the Nurses they lead to share the experience

The most important new customer a hospital will ever have is a first time mom, especially millennial expectant mothers. This isn’t a trauma and it isn’t a disease.  It is a baby that is making an entrance.  Yet, for hospitals trying to partner with patients in their health and wellness goals, this is a major opportunity.  That’s because millennial moms are most actively looking to establish a relationship with the hospital they choose to give birth at; they’re looking for more information during this critical time of their life and the life of their child. In fact, research conducted by global PR firm Weber Shandwick shows that millennial moms are more likely than all others to share information about goods and services and turn to both online and offline sources to do so.

For women’s health leaders, this represents a fantastic time to begin fostering a healthy, cohesive relationship. After all, a great experience during the first birth often leads to that hospital hosting a second birth because a solid relationship has been formed. Part of forming this connection is establishing trust that the expectation of patient safety will be met but they absolutely can expect a great delivery experience as well.

Deep down, the first thing every mom wants is to be safe alongside her baby but we also know that every customer wants a “Disney-like” delivery experience as well.  Consider that according to Save the Children’s “State of the World’s Mother Report 2013: Surviving the First Day,” approximately 40 million women give birth without a trained health professional each year, and of those 40 million, two million give birth alone.  We know that rarely happens in this country but we also know what mom’s want and expect is not just safety and not just a pretty room –they want a great experience.  In this space which is the space maternal/child leaders and nurses work- mom’s want it all.

So now I make a shift, the top goal in communicating with patients is to ensure they know they can expect an exceptional delivery experience, because the ultimate emphasis on the end-result is never in doubt, it is the well-being of both mother and baby. There is this constant balancing act between the safety and the experience.  Hospitals are all about marketing their safety numbers but Women need to know that companies like Press Ganey, SG2, and the Beryl Institute are focused like lasers and working with hospitals on the patient experience.  That should be part of the message for maternity units.  Ultimately, it still rests on you, the maternity nurse leaders and your team to keep the mom and the baby safe through the journey from the womb to the world. Some might say that I’m forgetting the provider whose technical skills are essential in this balancing act, but the confidence, joy, peace and comfort the patient experiences flows from the team and their leaders.  You can call me housekeeper, doctor, cafeteria tech or nurse, we all need to be invested in helping parents focus and enjoy those first precious minutes with their new baby and the entire stay.

Some will tell me that they already know this and for those few times I am glad whenever that is the case.  If you look at ten hospital web sites, you’ll see that at least nine of those hospital sites are not telling the patient anything about their experience.  I’ve studied hundreds of hospital websites and less than one percent has any clear message about any experience other than safety.  This message of the experience needs to be spreading to parents from the women’s leaders and staff nurses everywhere outside of hospital walls and into the community. In 10 years there won’t be meaningful print marketing or radio or television not when it comes to maternity.  Word-of-Mouth and social networking are the only channels that will connect and make sense.  There are only 4,000-5,000 managers and directors in obstetric units nationwide who, needless to say, cannot get the message out alone. Every maternity nurse has to be setting the expectation wherever she happens to be – whether at church, in the market or at a party.  The message is this –  of course we first deliver safe, high-tech care but we also make patients feel seriously pampered.  That is the special charter for every birth center and for that we hope you love us.

 Will you take this challenge? Join us in spreading the word –really your message.

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