Texas Health Dallas Nurse Midwife Featured in Nationwide Project|
DALLAS, Texas — Debra DuBois, APRN, C.N.M., a nurse midwife for the Women’s Health Center at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, is one of three Texas nurses and the first in Dallas to be nationally recognized as part of The American Nurse Project, a not-for-profit initiative capturing the personal stories of American nurses through photography and film.
“Along with higher education nurses bring their personal experiences and skill sets to their work. I am very fortunate to have full support from Texas Health Resources to provide quality care in a manner that best fits their needs” DuBois said. “It’s such an honor to be selected among so many great nursing professionals. I hope my story inspires current and future nurses to continue to share theirs.”
The American Nurse Project was inspired by Fort Worth native Rhonda Collins, M.S.N., R.N., and vice president of Fresenius Kabi USA, the sole sponsor of the project. Renowned photographer Carolyn Jones created a unique vision for the project and brought it to life by journeying across the country to capture the heroic experiences of nurses at work. The photographs and stories were recorded in the book The American Nurse, with proceeds benefiting both a scholarship fund designed to support nursing education and efforts to further the mission and vision of The American Nurse Project.
Following the success of the book, The American Nurse Project expanded its scope into additional states, including Texas. In doing so, the project continues to illuminate the selfless and rewarding world of caregiving by honoring new nurses, including DuBois. “Being able to share rich, unique stories like Debra’s is the reason The American Nurse Project continues to grow,” said Jones. “We are honored to have her as part of this journey and celebration of nursing.”
Through The American Nurse Project, DuBois was able to share her views about the challenges and rewards of assimilating refugees into the health care system. As a nurse midwife at the Women’s Health Center at Texas Health Dallas, her significant work includes providing culturally-sensitive care in a compassionate environment to refugees from Burma. The initiative started when Burmese refugees became the second largest population of non-English speaking patients to receive care in the center.
“In 2009, the majority of encounters with the local Burmese population involved pregnancy, so our initial goal centered on Burmese patients’ experience with perinatal and postpartum care,” DuBois said. “These women having fled from their homeland in Southeast Asia did not speak English, and many of the pregnant women were simply scared, unfamiliar with modern medicine and leery of what would happen when they came to the hospital for delivery.”
Called the Burmese Care Coordination Project, the nurse-led initiative helps refugees become more familiar with hospital services and, on a broader scale, Western medicine. DuBois, who was part of an inter-professional diversity project team led and sponsored by nursing, helped address language barriers and cultural differences concerning food-and-nutrition, medical care and navigating the health care system. The Care Coordination Project established improved care for these patients in an environment that was more welcoming and comforting to mothers and their families.
“The program completed its first full year of work in 2010. Today, Burmese women are experiencing pregnancy related care with a Burmese interpreter on location. All staff are culturally competent to care for these patients. Tours of the hospital’s labor and delivery unit are organized to help the moms adjust to the environment where they’ll give birth,” DuBois said. “Nurses talk to them about what will happen during labor and what role nurses and doctors will play in the care process. The orientation walkthroughs also include a visit to the pharmacy to ensure they’re comfortable with getting and taking medications.”
In addition to overcoming language-barriers and cultural issues during pregnancy, DuBois is working with the hospital’s pediatric center to establish educational groups for parents. The focus being routine baby care and making healthy choices for their children. Her work helped expand the Burmese interpreter into the pediatric center at Texas Health Dallas.
“Debra's advanced education and practice and her leadership coupled with her passion for serving vulnerable populations are an inspiration to all of us in nursing,” said Cole Edmonson, D.N.P., R.N., FACHE, NEA, chief nursing officer of Texas Health Dallas. “I am extremely proud of Debra and all nurses who are embracing, living and bringing to fruition the Future of Nursing Reports recommendations. Debra's work in nurse-led care is a great example of how we are improving the health of the communities we serve.”
Portraits of DuBois and the other two Texas nurses featured in The American Nurse Project, Jane Champion of Uvalde and Manny Munoz of El Paso, during a ceremony at Texas Health Dallas.
“The work of these amazing Texas nurses is both brave and fascinating,” said Collins. “Their dedication to their profession and devotion to their communities is inspirational. The American Nurse Project celebrates them as everyday heroes and Texas treasures, and we are grateful for the opportunity to share their stories.”
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