Interview With a Labor Delivery Nurse
Updated: May 13, 2020
I interviewed a labor and delivery nurse in Nampa, Idaho. In this article, I will go over a few of the major problems hospitals - especially focusing on the labor and delivery department - have been having, and a nurse’s opinion on how we have approached this pandemic.
Currently, hospitals are running into many problems. They are running out of supplies to keep their employees safe. In the labor and delivery department, mothers are waiting in the parking lot until they are ready to push, as to avoid the hospital knowing their medical information. Asymptomatic mothers come into the hospital without knowing they are sick, spreading it to the doctors and nurses and then possibly other patients.
In a normal situation, someone will get their name and doctor, then will call registration to see the mom’s chart history and check to see if they have ever been tested for COVID-19 and the results of that test. They need to know so that they can take extra precautions and make sure the mother doesn't spread the virus. However, now mothers are waiting in the parking lot until it is ‘time to push so that the hospital will not have time to get their information and know if they are corona positive. They do this so that the father would be allowed to stay in the room. But because of this, many doctors and nurses are getting sick.
Hospitals are taking precautions to keep their employees safe, however they do not have enough supplies to properly do so. “Because we are so limited, they were saying that no one gets to wear a mask unless we knew the patient was positive. … So now, they are giving us an M95 mask and two regular masks that we have to keep re-wearing until they are disgusting or not effective any more,” says Chelsea Morgan, a labor and delivery nurse. For comparison, “... before all this if you were to go into a sick patient’s room, with a cough or the flu or anything like that, every time you left the room you were supposed to throw away your gloves, your mask, and your gown. Every time you went back in you get new ones. Now we don’t do that at all. We just keep hanging onto it and put it in a brown paper bag.”
When a mom comes in with symptoms, labor and delivery nurses are supposed to test them, then if they are positive or if the test hasn’t come back in time, Chelsea says, “we are supposed to suggest that we take the baby away from the mom and have them go into a seperate room with the dad if the dad is not symptomatic. If they don’t want to be away from their child, then they can have the baby on an isolette in their room and they are supposed to maintain 6 feet from each other.” She goes on to say, “I had a mom the other day that we were testing and it was still at that time where test results could take up to 10 days. … It was two days after her birth, and she said ‘I haven’t been able to kiss my baby yet.’ She ended up being negative, so it was kind of like all for nothing, and it was her first kid, and it was very traumatic for a first-time mom.” Later, “When I was taking care of her and I didn’t know if she was negative or positive, I was sleeping downstairs on a mat so I wasn’t by my kids, fearing I might expose them.”
“(In one Idaho hospital) There have been 49 people admitted to the ICU… 45 of them have died.”
When asked for her opinion on how we have been approaching this problem, she states, “The CDC has failed the workers in protecting us. I think the hospitals have failed us because they should have been prepared.” She goes on to say, “It makes me infuriated because our CEO was making over an astronomical amount of money last year. That money could have been towards gear. We just weren’t prepared. Our safety standards have completely dropped. Like I said, masks are supposed to be one-time use. We are now telling nurses to wear the same mask for two weeks in a row. So, honestly, I feel like the hospitals and the CDC have failed health care workers.”