UK Midwife Clinic treats expecting and new mothers like family

The UK Midwives staff.

There are no patients at the UK Midwife Clinic – only family and friends.

“We see our patients as our extended family,” said JoAnne Burris, APRN, CNM, who was so moved by her own birthing experience with midwife, and now coworker, Melissa Courtney, that she felt called to help other women in the same way. “We value listening, meeting women were they are, and empowering them to be partners in their healthcare.”

The UK Midwife Clinic opened in 2017 when the Lexington-based Womankind Midwives was brought into UK HealthCare. From primary care to prenatal, birthing and postnatal care, the midwife clinic offers health services tailored to women’s needs in a reassuring environment.

“The team assembled here at the UK Midwife Clinic has been chosen specifically for their true love of people and their desire to create an environment of patient-centered care,” said Melissa Courtney, APRN, CNM, WHNP, who has been practicing in women’s health since 1997 when she worked as a labor and delivery nurse. “No matter the changes or adversities we face each day, we work together as a team to accomplish our common goal of doing what is best for the patient.”

The warmth, compassion and encouragement shown to every patient starts with the UK Midwife team.

“We have a lot of love for one another, which translates into a fun, supportive and team-oriented work environment,” said Chrissie Adams, APRN, CNM, who was inspired to pursue midwifery following the midwife-attended births of her niece and nephew. “This further translates into supportive, personalized care for our patients and their families.”

Welcome to the UK Midwife family

When moms have to bring their children to appointments, the UK Midwife family is there to make sure the mom is able to get the undivided attention she needs.

“The staff are always eager to entertain children, hold them, soothe them and love on them while the midwife spends some quality time with the mama,” said Dee Polito, APRN, CNM, who was always drawn to being a nurse and midwife, particularly after having three children of her own, and has been a midwife for 21 years. “One day I was about to examine a mama who had her 1-year-old with her. I cracked the door open and asked, ‘Can anyone hold this baby for a minute?’ Two of our techs came racing to the room, as well as Lori from the front desk.”

The joy of bringing new life into the world is common at the midwife clinic, but occasionally, they experience the sad reality of miscarriage. The midwives and staff ensure these families receive comfort and guidance.

“We light candles in our waiting room when someone is experiencing a loss,” Polito said. “It’s very important to us to acknowledge those losses, especially during a time when there is so much hope and happy expectations for the future. It’s just our gentle way of saying: ‘We understand. We are with you.’ We laugh with our patients, and we cry with them too. We are women caring for women.”

As part of the family, the women who go to the UK Midwife Clinic are at the center of the team’s mission to provide exceptional care, Burris said. “We won’t stop until every woman feels heard, cared for and respected,” she said.

Polito added: “We all will go above and beyond for patients who trust us with their care. We constantly strive to exceed expectations.”

A family that works well together stays together

The UK Midwife family is a tight-knit group because of the respect and concern members have for one another and their patients. They show interest in people’s lives outside of the clinical space, and everyone is willing to step outside of their comfort zones when someone needs help, Adams said.

“We call our patients by first name and take special interest in their stories, trials and triumphs,” said Hayden Murrell, APRN, CNM, who knew midwifery was her calling after witnessing women’s health disparities when she lived and worked for nearly three years as a healthcare provider in Uganda.

To foster this culture of camaraderie and teamwork, Murrell said: “When possible, eat together. Take time to know one another personally and not only professionally. When you understand your partners’ goals and challenges, you are more able to see how to draw out their strengths and assist them when needed.”

At the midwife clinic, meetings are more like friendly gatherings. When challenges arise, as they frequently do in healthcare, they only serve to strengthen the team’s cohesiveness. Problem-solving and decision-making are collective efforts.

“We listen to each other,” Polito said. “We respect each other. We care about each other. We value one another’s opinions and views. Families will always have challenges to work through. Having that basic philosophy allows us to overcome those challenges and move forward.”

To minimize challenges and promote a positive environment, ask questions, seek a teammate’s advice when necessary, and evenly distribute the workload, Murrell said.

“The biggest barrier to teamwork is uneven work or isolation,” Murrell explained. “We want to present our patients with a unified and complete resource that they can trust. It is not uncommon for one midwife to see a patient on another’s schedule if the patient has been waiting for some time, or for a second midwife to assist in the hospital if there are multiple labors occurring at once.”

Successfully sharing the work and supporting the team requires each member to focus on her individual strengths.

“The most important thing that someone can do to improve the culture of their team is to focus on their contribution to the team,” Burris said. “If I focus on what bothers me about other people, I stay irritated or angry. If I can focus on my part of the problem and work to make that better, I feel like I’m not a victim and can make my situation better. It helps to make a list of a coworker’s positive attributes when you’re feeling frustrated. Gratitude goes a long way to improve culture.”

Next steps:

  • The midwives of the UK Midwife Clinic will be sharing information about their services at the Bluegrass Baby Expo being held Saturday, September 12 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Lexington Convention Center.
This content was produced by UK HealthCare Brand Strategy.

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