This week, May 6-12, is National Nurses Week. We thank and honor the nurses who work tirelessly in so many ways to grow Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, to care for their patients every day, and to ensure that babies, families, hospitals, and community have access to donor milk.
Nursing practice and responsibilities run both deep and wide. The American Nurses Association’s Code of Ethics includes these provisions, among others:
- The nurse practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and unique attributes of every person.
- The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, community, or population.
- The nurse promotes, advocates for, and protects the rights, health, and safety of the patient.
- The nurse … advances the profession through research and scholarly inquiry … and the generation of both nursing and health policy.
- The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public to protect human rights, promote health diplomacy, and reduce health disparities.
- The profession of nursing … [must] integrate principles of social justice into nursing and health policy.
Nurses on the milk bank staff and boards
At Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, we are blessed to have nurses on our staff, board of directors, and medical board; as volunteers; and in the hospitals and communities we serve who exemplify this code of ethics. They protect their patients fiercely at the bedside, and their future patients in research, hospital, community, and government advocacy. Meet the nurses who currently serve on our boards and staff.
Jen Riley, RN, IBCLC, Board President, supports mothers and babies in the postpartum unit, contributes to research, and was instrumental in bringing donor milk to her well-baby unit. “Probably the most important factor are nurses. They are at the crossroads, as they are empowered to implement the whole, multi-step process. In our hospital they really embraced donor milk. They are willing to bend over backwards for something that a mother wants,” explains Jen.
Raechel Hackney, RN, IBCLC, is one of our Donor Intake Coordinators, and a member of the Guidelines Committee of the Human Milk Banking Association of North America, which sets clinical safety standards for HMBANA’s 30 milk banks, protecting the safety of milk that will reach young fragile patients throughout the country. “As part of the team at Mothers’ Milk Bank Northeast, I draw upon many of the skills and training I learned as a nurse to ensure that we provide the safest possible donor milk.”
Jane Crotteau, BSN, RNC, IBCLC, and Karen Sussman-Karten, RN, IBCLC, both past board presidents, and Susan Worden, RN, IBCLC, have been deeply involved with the milk bank since our inception in 2006. “Who would imagine that four RN/IBCLCs and one PhD could start this wonderful organization? It is one of the things in my life of which I am most proud!” Jane commented.
Jane, Karen, and Susan were instrumental in their respective hospitals in bringing donor milk to their patients and training their colleagues in use of donor milk; they educate us about how we can help to meet the needs of hospitals more effectively.
Darlene Breed, RN, IBCLC, was the coordinator, donor screener, pasteurizing tech, and shipper of the milk bank in Worcester, MA that closed about five years before our milk bank started. She trained us in all aspects of donor screening and milk processing as well as how to approach hospitals about using donor milk. For decades, Darlene has truly been an advocate and protector of the rights, health, and safety of all her young patients, at their bedside and at both milk banks.
Paula Oliveira, RN, IBCLC, was instrumental in bringing donor milk to two hospitals in which she worked. As a member of our Medical Advisory Board, Paula continues to educate us about current research and implementation of donor milk in both NICU and well-baby unit settings.
Shelly Bazes, MS, RN, WHNP-BC, is a member of our Medical Advisory Board. Her expertise in quality improvement has helped to make our operations more efficient and safer.
Dara Barnett, RN, IBCLC, is a NICU nurse and a member of our Medical Advisory Board. She was instrumental in bringing donor milk to Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY, a multi-year process. “I feel so fortunate to be able to offer donor milk to any family who wants it in our NICU—being able to support and protect breastfeeding in this way is really important … Having donor milk takes a little pressure off of already stressed families, and it’s sometimes the thing that helps normalize a NICU stay.”
Dara’s compassion, knowledge, and support for her patients, expressed by Amber Star, mother of Raiya, born at 28 weeks, exemplifies the work of nurses in hospitals everywhere:
“Dara is a very special person who dedicates herself to her work with admirable zeal. She makes life in the NICU manageable and even joyful for the families she works with—gently guiding them as they work toward their breastfeeding goals, tenderly caring for their tiny infants, and tirelessly advocating for family-centered care. She provided me with invaluable evidence-based information, encouraged me to keep going when faced with breastfeeding challenges, provided a safe refuge in a chaotic environment, and pointed me in the direction of donating my milk to those in need when I eventually realized that I had pumped more than my own baby could use.”
Thanks to all nurses
Our deep and abiding thanks to all of the nurses who make untold contributions to the care of their patients, contribute to the research that informs best practices, and advocate for sound, equitable, and just health policies and programs.