Department Spotlight: Labor & Delivery

By: Alana Ridge

October 31, 2022

A team of Labor and Delivery providers posing for a group photo.

Parents welcoming their new bundles of joy into the world might be overcome with emotions. They're exhausted yet excited to meet their new baby and hold them in their arms.

That’s where Renown Health’s Labor & Delivery (L&D) department comes in. When patients arrive at the L&D unit in Renown Regional Medical Center, they are embraced with caring, compassionate nurses, surgical technicians and physicians ready to serve their family. As they get ready for the big moment in their private L&D room or family suite, you can be certain that you, they can be certain that they will receive the excellent care they deserve.

Unpredictable, but Never Unprepared 

Ushering in new life can bring a lot of surprises for parents, but the L&D department is prepared for any challenge. Whether the unit is helping with a routine or high-risk delivery, every patient and newborn are treated with personalized care that is uniquely tailored to their own individual needs and birth preferences, from labor evaluation and birth to post-birth lactation consultation and navigating the nursery. 

“Our floor is never predictable,” said Bri Goode, Renown L&D nurse. “Our nurses and our staff work as a team to ensure the best care for our patients. I commonly say that we are all 'nurses’ for each patient!” 

The state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips – including advanced 3D ultrasound machines – coupled with the love and passion the team has for their patients allows them to create an optimal environment for every mother and baby. The unit is also equipped with a Labor Assessment Area, where expectant mothers are evaluated to determine what stage of labor they are in, removing the guesswork and allowing providers to treat the patient and unborn child more efficiently and meet them exactly where they are at in the labor process. 

Nothing can replace the careful guidance and words of encouragement a patient needs in the delivery room. The L&D department are true patient advocates and firmly believe in the power of listening and the power of staying calm and collected. 

“To help our patients and ease their fears and anxieties, we always ensure them that our biggest goal is to have a healthy mom and healthy baby,” said Lindsay Strowmatt, Renown L&D nurse. “We constantly reinforce that they are strong and capable. Empowerment goes a long way!” 

“We always take the time to actually sit down and listen to the patient, no matter how busy we are,” added Krystie Mortensen, Renown L&D nurse and DAISY Award winner. “It’s important for us to understand where their nerves are stemming from and address any changes in plan of care along the way.” 

While the L&D unit is seen as a “happy place,” as described repeatedly by the members of the team, a seemingly low-risk patient can also turn into an emergency in a matter of seconds.  

"Our line of work can involve high-stakes emergency care,” said April Tucker, Renown L&D nurse. “We view change as a necessary part of growth, and we save lives.” 

These steps result in high patient outcome scores, which can be attributed directly to the unit. 

“We have continually great outcomes from hard work and consistency in care,” said Roya Galata, Renown L&D nurse and Nursing Organizations Alliance (NOA) Lifetime Achievement awardee. “I have tremendous love for my patients and the type of work I do.” 

Awards Without End 

With patient safety and experience always top of mind, and with the team continually going above and beyond for all parents and their newborns, it’s no wonder why the L&D department has achieved a long and growing list of both local and national awards and accolades.  

This year, U.S. News & World Report ranked the L&D unit at Renown Regional as "High Performing in Maternity Care – Uncomplicated Pregnancy.” This award is only the latest in this department’s “Best Of” accolades list, as the unit also achieved a win as the Best Place to Have a Baby in the 2022 Best of Reno Awards

Not only is the department continually recognized, but individual team members also receive coveted awards within their professional associations. As previously mentioned, Krystie Mortensen is a DAISY Award winner, which means that she has been recognized for the “super-human work” she has done throughout her career. Additionally, three team members, including Roya Galata, have received NOA awards, celebrating their contributions to the nursing profession as a whole. 

Many nurses in this department also choose to pursue lifelong learning by taking advantage of the educational benefits that Renown offers. Several team members have completed their continuing education in midwifery and advanced practice, reaffirming their dedication to delivering healthy babies and helping parents manage their first few days with their newborns. 

“The teamwork on this unit is phenomenal, and the energy and commitment that the staff comes in with every single day amazes me,” said Lora Carlson, Renown L&D Manager of Nursing. 

Internally, the L&D department loves to show their spirit at Renown. In December, they received the Best Holiday Decoration award during the 2021 holiday season. The team also enjoys participating (and scoring well) in Renown-sponsored Halloween costume contests. 

In 2023, the L&D department will only pursue greater heights to continue producing patient outcomes. 

A Work Family 

“I stay here because this is my family. My work family.” 

These strong words were proudly stated by Jeanne Bufkin, Renown L&D Surgical Technician, and echoed by virtually every L&D employee. Having each other’s backs during both times of need and times of celebration is a must in this department, and they do so proudly. 

“Our staff constantly back each other up,” added Lora Carlson. “They display a lot of adaptability and flexibility. That’s why our unit functions as well as it does.” 

Several team members in this department experienced the care of the L&D unit at Renown before they became fully-fledged employees. 

“I had two of my babies here and had wonderful experiences both times,” said Judy McBride, Unit Clerk. “I love being a part of the reason why the next woman can say the same!” 

Bri Goode also delivered her child at Renown and loved her experience so much that she was also inspired to join the team. “I chose to work at Renown because when I had such a positive experience during my delivery while I was in nursing school, I knew it was a team I wanted to be a part of.” 

Coming to Renown was clearly an easy decision for this team; staying at Renown is even easier. 

“I stay here because I love what I do and who I do it with,” said Judy McBride. “I truly feel like I am treated as an asset to this department, and it makes me want to come to work every day and make a difference in these mothers’ lives.” 

The closeness of this department and the top-of-the-line collaboration displayed by every provider can be felt by the patients during their entire stay at Renown.  

“We have an amazing collaborative team of physicians, nurses, scrub techs, unit clerks, patient access representatives and environmental services personnel that strive to provide our patients with the best possible care,” said April Tucker. 

The labor and delivery process is a team effort – and those interested in jumping in on this team effort are welcome to join. Delivering healthy babies and supporting new mothers are cornerstone acts in meeting Renown’s mission of making a genuine difference in the communities we serve. Our L&D department does precisely this and more, never giving up in Fighting the Good Fight. 

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