A Clinician's Responsibility
By Danielle Little
As we advance in the journey of addressing the maternal health crisis and dismantling structural racism in the US, many have turned to clinicians to lead the charge. The clinician's role allows healthcare providers to observe and address a myriad of health drivers.
However, is imposing another requirement on the clinician the solution? In what ways can patients receive much-needed support and the workload of clinicians achieve balance? Are there other professions that can aid in providing support? Consider the non-clinical Maternal Child Health professional - Childbirth Educators, Birth Doulas, and Postpartum Doulas, Breastfeeding Specialist (rather IBCLC-RN, IBCLC, CLC, CLE) or Postpartum Support Group Facilitators.
The responsibility of promoting a standard message to achieve optimal health can be shared among those who interface with expecting patients during times of outpatient engagement. Should maternal-child health advocates be intentional about placing seeds of education, knowledge, and reassurance along the path patients follow for success? I believe we should!
Let’s consider the Rule of Seven! The Rule of Seven suggests, “A person must hear a message at least seven times before they buy-in.”
If consistent messaging is thoughtfully crafted and intentionally shared among clinical and nonclinical Maternal Child Health Professionals from the first positive pregnancy test to the hospital tour to discharge, patients may begin to engage healthcare professionals from a health literate place. They can advocate for themselves by engaging in bountiful exchange with passionate professionals that liaise between clinicians.
By undergirding the perinatal health experience with validation for roles involved, we may simultaneously alleviate the burden of change on clinicians.