A Note From The President | Renew And Grow

As a part of my job, I am responsible for maintaining our hospital Baby-Friendly Designation. This year is an assessment year, and this is not an easy task. I feel like I am abandoning my education staff and putting all my energy into my lactation team and our in-patient units. I know all the answers to all the staff education audit questions, but I am one person and need to get all the information from my brain to the brains of all our nurses, HCAs, doctors, and midwives. And luckily, I have a team of CNCs, unit educators, and lactation staff who are all jumping in to do their part. We have until October to be ready for the assessment.

This is not our first time going through re-designation. We began the journey to Baby-Friendly in 2003 when one of our pediatricians went to administration and said we needed to become a Baby-Friendly Hospital. It took us 4.5 years to obtain the initial designation and this is our third time renewing. Just this morning, I was thinking about how I wish we didn’t have to keep going through this process. But then I reminded myself that the reason we re-designate, re-certify, and renew anything is to check for areas we have forgotten important information/skills or we need to get up to speed on the latest and newer information. It’s an opportunity to pause, reset, and do better.

For us, and our practice, it is important that we do this re-designation because the last three years have put some challenges on the hospital systems, and we are not exempt. We had to make practice changes during the pandemic that led to less robust education of new team members. And then due to high turnover, we have a lot of new staff. Going through this process is going to be worth it to come out better in the end.

This leads me to all of us as educators, doulas, lactation staff, and perinatal support. It is important for us to continue to renew and grow. Continuing education, conferences, webinars, etc., are all a part of that learning, building, and growing. Sometimes it’s hard and feels like one more task, but ultimately, it makes us better at our job.

Our Board of Directors is certainly not exempt. We are making plans now for strategic planning that will be held in the fall. We will use this time to take a critical look at our programs and processes to make our organization the best it can be; to look at how we can change, improve, and expand. We are also looking towards the 2024 Conference. Stay tuned for exciting information about the conference in the months ahead.

Wishing you all wonderful days and fulfilling careers supporting all our new families.

Elizabeth Kirts

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