It’s a typical day in the birthing centre at St-Mary’s hospital in Montreal.
There are 10 nurses working, one nursing assistant and a doctor, with six patients checked in.
Nurses are routinely checking in on soon-to-be-mothers — taking care of them, but also making them feel at ease.
“It’s a special event already for everybody but for us too,” said nurse Katerina Horelik. “I think it’s the happiest place in the hospital.”
There are 53 nurses and seven nursing assistants who work at the centre.
They take part in around 3,500 births every year.
Head nurse Noella Ethier, who’s worked at the centre for over three decades, says what makes the team so unique is how close they are, and how they always work together for patients, no questions asked.
“Last week we had two mothers that arrived here, but one delivered in the triage room and the other in front of the elevator and the team rushed to help the mother,” she said.
That kind of teamwork came in handy throughout the pandemic.
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Like many other Quebec hospitals, the birthing centre experienced staffing shortages and often had to lean on each other for help as teammates fell ill with the virus.
“At one point, this was making life more difficult because we were losing people for seven days or 10 days at one point,” said Ethier. “This was a burden on the rest of the team because they had to work harder.”
But Dr. Audrey Gilbert, who has been working at the centre for eight years, says the team always rallies, and always puts the patients first.
“As a doctor, you want your patients to be well taken care of, so I think to know that the nurses are going to take such good care of the patients, I think that’s priceless,” she said.
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