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Communication and Perinatal Safety


Communication is one of the most important factors in any relationship, but it becomes even more crucial in a hospital setting where life altering decisions are made every minute. Teams of nurses, physicians and midwives are in command of infants' lives from the moment they enter this world, and therefore communication is key.

Audrey Lyndon, a clinical nurse specialist in labor and delivery, claims that, "We'd see cases where someone would recognize a problem, but for whatever reason opportunities for a rescue were missed." Lyndon was recently recognized for her body of research and public service and received the Distinguished Professional Service Award from the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN).  Best known for speaking out about how communication failures can lead to preventable adverse situations in perinatal care, Lyndon works on developing strategies on how to improve safety in labor and delivery units through exercising better communication.

Most women believe hospitals are a place where they can safely deliver a baby, but accidents still happen even in today's world of advanced perinatal technology. Unfortunate accidents are what led Lyndon to question why some teams respond better to the unpredictable than others. In the face of trauma, good communication is invaluable and Lyndon has written that, "Safety is understood as a social, individual and collective responsibility, belonging to all team members."

In theme with the rising concern over perinatal safety, we are hosting two special Birth Injuries, The Law & Perinatal Safety conferences. The first will take place on September 26 - 28, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV and the second on October 24-26, 2013 in Washington, D.C. Designed for clinical nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, obstetricians and others, these conferences will explore advances in care for perinatal and neonatal patients and clinical challenges in many of these areas.

Let us know the best communication methods you have seen doctors and nurses using to affect patient outcomes by commenting below. For more information about Lyndon's perspectives on communication issues between clinicians, read the full article "Improving Communications for Perinatal Safety", written by Martha Ross.


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