Helping Mothers and Other Ways Nurses Can Assist the Community
Infant mortality rates are typically highest is developing countries where health care is suboptimal. However, among disadvantaged mothers in the United States, the numbers are high. According to The New York Times, there are more than 5 deaths per 1,000 infants by age one in this section of the population, a significantly higher figure than the national average of about 2 per every 1,000.
However, recently health care advocates have been working to decrease these numbers by simply connecting nurses with parents of newborns.
Nurses can help with more than health care
The New York Times profiled one young mother near Memphis, Tennessee – an area where infant mortality is very high – and how a nurse helped her. The nurse, Beth Pletz, is part of an organization called the Nurse Family Partnership. Now partially funded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, this organization gives mothers with few other parenting resources a nurse to help them from time to time.
Pletz visits mothers’ homes, giving them practical tips about child care, such as where the baby will be most comfortable sleeping, as well as more serious warnings about not shaking the child in frustration. She is able to see that babies are in good health, ensure the mothers have the tools they needs, look for signs of abuse, and offer friendship, support and advice.
The program also allows nurses to help with non-child-related issues that mothers face, such as dealing with a breakup or finding a new job.
Giving back around the world
While the future of aspects of this program are up in the air for budget reasons, there are plenty of ways for registered nurses to work within their communities. Whether you’re an RN who wants additional work or a master’s of science in nursing degree students looking to give back while you study, you may want to try one of these organizations.