We asked Amanda Varva, a certified nurse midwife at Women’s Excellence, to share what a day in her life looks like.
“What do you do?” It’s the question you might get asked when you meet someone for the first time. We all have our go-to answer: I’m a lawyer, I work for a start-up, I teach kindergarten — but we actually want to know the details! When do you get in? How do you spend your day? Tell us, really: What do you do, Amanda?
I wake up before the sun and make sure my kids are ready for school. One large cup of coffee and a breakfast that I will probably forget to eat, and I’m out the door and on my way to Beaumont Royal Oak.
I arrive just before 7am and receive report from my night shift colleague. Because I’m usually assigned at the hospital on Fridays, my colleague has just completed 5 night shifts in a row. We celebrate completing this challenging endeavour and since it is usually the only time we see each other, we catch up on life for a few minutes.
Next, I visit triage and check in with the nurses to let them know I am there and available so that they can call me about any of our patients who come through the door to be seen. I check in at “The Board”, a gathering place for the nurses, physicians, and midwives to update patient progress, remotely view fetal monitoring strips and otherwise enjoy each other’s company. I’ll check in with the nurses who are responsible for caring for all of the Women’s Excellence patients admitted to Labor and Delivery about the plan for the day. Finally, I meet all of our patients in labor; discuss their comfort, concerns, and preferences, and provide labor support as needed.
Around 10am I visit our postpartum patients and babies! We talk about what is to be expected in the first few days and weeks after having a baby depending on if they had a vaginal birth or c-section, check to make sure they are healing, and that their bleeding and vitals are stable. We talk about breast feeding, birth control, and whatever else is on their mind! If families are ready to go home, I’ll make sure they are prepared and put in their order for discharge.
Around noon I rediscover my cold oatmeal and coffee and quickly grab a bite to eat from Papa Joe’s. Until 7pm I am in a constant whirlwind of labor, births, phone calls, online messages from patients, reviewing lab results, seeing patients in triage, starting inductions, managing complications, and patiently waiting for babies to be born. It can be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting, but those birthday parties make it all worth it and remind us that we wouldn’t want to be doing anything else!