Clinical Scholars Susan Lindner and Kathleen Bell Present Doula Program Update
On Monday, Dec. 15, Kathleen Bell, RNC-OB, WHNP-BC (B.S. ’07/N; M.S. ’11/N), clinical instructor, and Susan Lindner, M.S.N., RNC-OB (B.S. ’04/N), clinical assistant professor, both in the Department of Family and Community Health Nursing, presented on the impact of their project, titled “Improving Birth Outcomes Through a Birth Companion Program: Educating Nursing Students as Doulas.” Opening with their latest birthing success story, Lindner and Bell discussed project accomplishments over the past year, including having 23 trained doulas, some with foreign language proficiency, in the program. They also matched student doulas with 19 mothers, 11 of whom had doula support during their labor.
The student doulas are trained to help expectant mothers through the prenatal/labor and delivery/postpartum journey by offering emotional, educational and physical support. They use coping techniques such as stretching and massage, as well as conversations about birthing plans to help mothers prepare for what’s to come.
The new mothers aren’t the only ones benefiting from this program. Student doulas call the program a life changing experience.” Lindner agrees, noting that nothing compares to it – to see the students so enthralled by this. It’s an experience that will carry throughout their career – learning and helping people in crisis.”
Lindner and Bell were the first recipients of the school’s Clinical Scholars Award, which provides flexible funds for projects involving clinical practice, teaching, research and faculty development. Looking ahead, they plan to focus more on client recruitment efforts and changing the program training schedule to start immediately after each semester in order to ease student workload and attract more students to the program.