Excellence: Northern Inyo Hospital’s NEST program

– Press release

Northern Inyo Hospital’s NEST program received a state level award of excellence for supporting exclusive breastfeeding among new mothers.

The Northern Inyo Hospital Perinatal Services Team with the Golden Nugget Award. Back row, left to right: Julie Core, Darlene Whiteside, Lori Gable, Dan David, Rhonda Aihara, Eva Judson, Maura Richman and Anneke Bishop. Front row: Megan Scott, Lindy Butler with her daughter Haddie (a NEST baby), and Natalie Marcus. Not shown: Ali Feinberg, Lisa Cobb, Gretchen Schumacher and Bree Trimble. Photo courtesy Bob Rice

The Northern Inyo Hospital Perinatal Services Team with the Golden Nugget Award. Back row, left to right: Julie Core, Darlene Whiteside, Lori Gable, Dan David, Rhonda Aihara, Eva Judson, Maura Richman and Anneke Bishop. Front row: Megan Scott, Lindy Butler with her daughter Haddie (a NEST baby), and Natalie Marcus. Not shown: Ali Feinberg, Lisa Cobb, Gretchen Schumacher and Bree Trimble. Photo courtesy Bob Rice

Natalie Marcus, the hospital’s Maternal Child Family Coordinator, accepted one of the California Breastfeeding Coalition’s first-ever Golden Nugget awards during the fifth annual Breastfeeding Summit held in Garden Grove on Jan. 28.

NIH’s NEST – or Newborn Evaluation, Support & Teaching – program was among seven of 22 health care agencies selected to receive the Golden Nugget, which honors local groups that go above and beyond the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding.

Marcus said NIH won the award for identifying and reducing lactation problems. According to the Surgeon General’s report, this can vary from physical discomforts, to the mother receiving mixed educational messages from different providers. Since its inception last January, NIH’s NEST strives to empower, support and assist Inyo County mothers so they feel prepared and confident for their birthing experience, and ultimately choose to exclusively breastfeed their infant for a minimum of six months.

The NEST team embraced five specific actions to reduce breastfeeding barriers. The team gave mothers direct support; used community-based organizations for additional support and promotion; developed continuity of message between health care professionals; provided education of the message to the professionals; and, ensured access to services provided by its International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Marcus said direct support is the foundation of NEST. “We provide a minimum of three visits and follow-up phone calls at one month, three months, six months and one year after birth,” Marcus said. “All mothers planning to deliver at NIH meet with our team prior to delivery, and then we have an inpatient lactation visit after the birth of their baby, plus an appointment to return within 48 hours of discharge, and access to breastfeeding support services during the entire course of breastfeeding.”

By teaming up with Inyo County First 5 and strengthening relationships with the Inyo County Health Department, WIC, the local obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics offices, and Toiyabe Indian Health Project, Marcus said the breastfeeding message gained ground. “We’re a small community, so it’s necessary that we all work together toward common goal,” Marcus said.

Marcus said one benefit of the team effort has been better communication. “Being a program of the hospital, we work closely with the OB/GYN and pediatric offices. If those offices are seeing a mother or infant with breastfeeding problems or concerns, they will refer them to NEST,” Marcus explained. “In the same respect, at the 48-hour follow up, we have systems in place to notify the pediatricians of any weight, feeding or jaundice concerns in the infant. Again, success comes from working together.”

A unified message was solidified when grant funding from Inyo County First 5 allowed the NEST program to bring lactation education program founder Gini Baker to Bishop for a two-day seminar, attended by Inyo and Mono county health department and hospital employees, WIC, First 5, Toiyabe Indian Health, and other community partners. “It was a wonderful time of learning, and it was amazing to have so many different representatives from different departments come together as one,” Marcus said.

Marcus credits teamwork for the rise and success of the NEST program. “It’s been incredible to watch this program grow out of just an idea a little more than a year ago,” she said. “It took a lot of hard work and dedication from everyone involved to make NEST a reality. Overall, the program has been a huge success. The feedback we are getting from patients and clients have been extremely encouraging, then to receive the award, well, that was just so inspiring for our team.”

Last November, a CDC national survey gave Northern Inyo Hospital high marks in its efforts to make breastfeeding the best option for the health of new mothers and their babies. The hospital scored above the state and national averages for use of best practices in infant nutrition and care.

Northern Inyo Hospital’s NEST program aims to promote exclusive breastfeeding for at least six months and continual breastfeeding as long as it is mutually desirable for both mother and baby.

Those interested in additional information about the NEST program may call (760) 873-2191 or email the NEST team at NEST@nih.org.

 

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3 Responses to Excellence: Northern Inyo Hospital’s NEST program

  1. Optimist March 5, 2015 at 11:03 am #

    What a great achievement for NIH and the perinatal staff! For those of you who might not know these wonderful staff members, they are extremely educated and passionate individuals who truly care about their patients. The success of the NEST program and this recognition are a testament to their dedication as employees. This team has consistently gone above and beyond their required duties to generate the best outcomes for patients. Also, the NEST program wouldn’t exist or be successful without the help and approval of the hospital Administration. This program has been a team effort.

    It’s unfortunate that people have failed to acknowledge and/or comment on this great achievement. Instead, it seems people would rather focus on the negative issues surrounding NIH. However, this makes sense judging by the way society has been programmed by our wonderful media to focus on negativity and consume drama. Nevertheless, the NEST program was created and is striving under the current NIH Administration.

     
  2. Dee Younger March 6, 2015 at 7:22 pm #

    One of the most energetic presentations I’ve seen in years. The projector wasn’t working but the young woman who spoke was incredible and almost made me want to have another child. Not really. I believe Megan Scott and the incredible Natalie Marcus are doing wonders for this program.The nurses we had back in 1992 when my daughter was born didn’t exactly have an enthusiastic attitude. We ended up having a lot of respect for them, but it took a few days.

     
  3. Concerned March 9, 2015 at 8:55 am #

    Optimist, I agree we should value the accomplishments of the hospital staff, because there are some incredible nurses working at NIH. However, these nurses do not feel safe. It is important to discuss these issues so that these nurses feel valued. These nurses consistently go above and beyond the call of duty, but have been treated poorly by administration. I hope that more people will see through the games administration is playing and support these nurses so that they can have a safe working environment.

     

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