It all began one day in June of last year. An expectant mother had arrived at her nearest hospital—the Valley Stream Long Island Jewish Center—already in the painful throes of her contractions. Having no pediatric floor, no nursery, and no full-time obstetrician-gynecologist, medical personnel quickly prepared an ambulance to whisk her away to LIJ’s sister hospital: a fifteen-minute trip. But by the time the ambulance could start its engine, it was already too late. The baby was coming. With the obstetrician holed up in traffic, the moment was either sink or swim for the emergency department staff on the scene.
“We made sure the baby was safely delivered,” said Arlene Ramirez, the Director of Patient Care Services for the Emergency Department, but the episode revealed a distressing unfamiliarity among the nurses and technicians with the labor and delivery process.
“We on the staff looked at each other knowing this is not something we’re too familiar with. And I asked myself if there’s something we could have done better,” said Ramirez.
Although all registered nurses at the hospitals have basic training in labor and delivery, the frequency of expectant mothers coming in is so small that when it does happen, some nurses start to sweat. “People were arriving, and we realized there was no expertise in the building… so we thought it would be a good idea to get everyone to speed,” said Dr. Salvatore Pardo Chairman of the Emergency Department.
As a result, the Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Hospital kicked off its first ever emergency labor and delivery training for hospital staff last Wednesday. In partnership with the Northwell Center for Learning and Innovation (CLI), the simulation training program featured live actors and infant mannequin simulators to give staff an immersive experience during the critical moments of a mother and newborn’s life. The training is part of a larger education initiative meant to equip all nurses with the know-how and skills to effectively respond to all future labor and delivery emergency situations.
“I live an hour and a half away, and I came for this. It was one hundred percent worth it,” said Moucha. While Moucha is accustomed to handling dire, life-or-death patient situations like cardiac arrests and strokes, Moucha felt out of his element when it came to baby delivery.
“I feel for me, out of all areas, obstetrics is my weakness. Having it on site helped, being the home site, my environment, my coworkers. This is a privilege to have this here,” said Moucha.
The “next step is to take feedback and coordinate dates… About 6-7% of nurses and 10% of technicians are trained” through this program, said Ramirez. The hospital expects to hold more simulations in the coming weeks and months.
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