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OMC’s patient-centered approach to women and their birth experience

OMC’s patient-centered approach to women and their birth experience

Olmsted Medical Center’s Women's Health Pavilion opened its doors in 2014. The second floor of the building is home to the BirthCenter, a space created with the goal of providing “the best birthing experience we can for women.” That’s how Brenda Ziegler, Manager of Maternal and Neonatal Services, described her team’s shared mission. 

There is no one-size-fits-all-approach to patient-care at the BirthCenter. Instead, women have many options for the shape of their birth experience. The staff journeys alongside women supporting them in their birthing preferences and plans. From aromatherapy to water births to epidurals to nitrous oxide, all are possibilities at the BirthCenter.

Each of the 14 birthing rooms was built to accommodate the multitude of options available to women during labor and delivery. Instead of moving from room to room throughout the various stages of giving birth, at Olmsted Medical Center (OMC), a woman is able to stay in the same, comfortable space with the same nurse. That continuity of care helps women feel supported. 

“It’s not my birth. It’s her birth,” Patricia Hinck, Certified Nurse Midwife, said of the attitude with which she approaches every patient. Hinck’s desire is to do what she can to make a woman’s vision for her birthing experience into reality. 

Her passion for supporting women is at the core of her vocation. “Midwife means with women. I love helping women with their health.” 

There are five midwives on the team at the BirthCenter and collaboration with the rest of the medical staff is a central priority. “It isn’t us versus them with physicians. We collaborate together. We couldn’t do it without them. Midwives specialize in low-risk pregnancies and births.”

Hinck recognizes that not all people are aware of the extensive training required to become a midwife. “We are educated on a master or doctorate level … We are nurses plus a midwifery degree.” OMC’s current midwife practice is four years old. 

Recently, the certified nurse midwives at Olmsted Medical Center received the Triple Aim Achievement Award from the American College of Nurse-Midwives which celebrates high breastfeeding rates, low c-section rates, and good financial stewardship and reporting. 

Brenda Ziegler has worked at Olmsted Medical Center since 1980 when she started her career as a nursing student. Her commitment to empowering women has propelled her throughout her vocation, and now shapes the way that she goes about her role as the manager of her team. 

It’s important to Ziegler to honor OMC’s history of being on the cutting edge of birth options for women. While the Women’s Health Pavilion is new, OMC’s patient-centered approach to women and their birth experiences is not new. 

“At this stage in my life and career, I really want us to honor the past.” Part of honoring the past is acknowledging the physicians and nurses who were forward thinking and innovative. “It started way back. I was just a new nurse in 1980. I learned everything I know from those nurses and doctors I worked with."

There was a group of nurses along with Dr. Werner Kaese (OMC’s second obstetrician/gynecologist) who were integral with moving to a new care model – single room maternity care where the labor, delivery, recovery, and post-partum (LDRP) were all in one room.

That willingness to innovate and continue learning remains a high priority for the staff. “For 30 years we’ve been leading this kind of care model in southeastern Minnesota,” Ziegler shared.

The smaller staff size of the BirthCenter is something both Ziegler and Hinck value. It facilitates a strong sense of collegiality between team members, and ensures that every voice at the table can be heard. “It’s a family atmosphere here,” shared Ziegler. The BirthCenter staff hopes that their sense of connectedness to one another shines through and brings a sense of comfort to the patients they serve. 

At Olmsted Medical Center’s BirthCenter, the whole team collaborates in making sure women and families feel supported each step of the way. “It’s our job to empower women,” shared Ziegler. From the warm, welcoming aesthetic of each birthing room to the post-birth lactation and parenting classes, the BirthCenter has been created to provide for the needs of women and families.

This article is part of a series sponsored by Olmsted Medical Center.

Photography by William Forsman

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