Family Birth Center nurse works to give moms the best ‘birth story’
Moms remember the birth story for every baby they deliver — the good and the less-than-stellar. As a labor and delivery nurse at MultiCare Covington Medical Center’s Family Birth Center, Heidi Johnson, RN, works hard to make sure every mom in her care has the best birth story.
“I’m a mom; I had babies,” Johnson said. “A mom doesn’t forget her labor. I had good and bad in my labor story. You want the best care for your baby. It’s their birth story, and I think about that. I try to treat my patients how I want to be treated.”
This dedication to helping moms have a great birth story led to Johnson being nominated and then selected for the DAISY Award® for Extraordinary Nurses at Covington Medical Center in December 2020. The DAISY Award is a program created by the DAISY Foundation to provide on-going recognition of the skill and compassion nurses provide to patients and families at partnering health care organizations.
Nurses are nominated for this award by patients and families. The patient who nominated Johnson wrote about why her experience with Johnson stood out: “Heidi came in on my third day of my very long induction, she made sure I was still comfortable. She always made sure to check on me. During the whole labor process, she kept calm, she helped coach me through pushing. I couldn’t have asked for a better team on my daughter’s birthday. I will always, always, always appreciate Heidi.”
Johnson grew up in Fargo, North Dakota, and spent much of her youth playing on the family farm. She also had an aunt who worked as a labor and delivery nurse.
“I thought that she had the best job ever,” Johnson said. “She was able to work with moms and babies all day and get paid for it! She was always happy and appeared to love her job.”
For a while, Johnson debated between teaching kindergarten or going to nursing school. She found that nursing offered more opportunities and the pay was better.
“I could move anywhere and have a job,” she said. “If I decided that labor and delivery wasn’t for me, I could choose from tons of other options. So I decided to go into nursing.”
Johson became a nurse in 2008.
“My first day on the floor, I knew that I chose the right career,” she said. “Now, 13 years later, every baby born is just as exciting as the first. I still love what I do!”
Best days and worst days
As a labor and delivery nurse, her days can fluctuate from being the very best or the very worst of days if there are major complications with a patient, or, worst case scenario, a baby is stillborn.
“Sometimes there are not good outcomes,” she said. “I remember every one of them. We cry too. Still, it’s a time we can provide comfort. It’s an honor to help them through that the best we can.”
Every baby born is exciting
Johnson joined Covington Medical Center’s Family Birth Center when the hospital opened in 2018.
“I worked at bigger hospitals but there wasn’t a feeling that they care for their patients,” she said. “I didn’t feel I had the time to provide good education. Covington hospital is smaller and we have more time to do that. I love that.
“Every baby born is exciting,” she added. “It’s such a privilege to be there. It’s a vulnerable time. It is out of their control and they have to feel safe. A good nurse can make you feel safe.”
MultiCare has six Family Birth Centers, located in the Puget Sound and Inland Northwest regions. Learn more about our Family Birth Centers, and how our birth center teams work to help give you your best birth story.
The DAISY Awards are presented at MultiCare hospitals and honor licensed nursing professionals in more than 2,000 health care facilities worldwide for outstanding patient care, clinical skills and extraordinary compassion in nursing.
About The Author
Melissa Campbell is the communication specialist for MultiCare Auburn and Covington medical centers. You may reach her at [email protected].More stories by this author