Questions for nurses that teach childbirth classes

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    I am a rural nurse in a tiny hospital and we deliver around 60 babies per year. I have been teaching the CB classes for just over a year. I have tried once weekly for 2 hours for 4 weeks, I have tried 4 hour Saturday classes that are divided into early pregnancy, infant care, labor, etc., I have tried an 8 hour Saturday class (still doing that one now).

    In my hospital all the nurses can tell who has been to my classes it really helps them know how to advocate for themselves and to know what options they have, etc. I do not charge a fee (it is free), they get lunch and snacks, some small giveaways from typical companies that send freebies to hospitals, and our CRNAs come to talk about options for pain management.

    I have a heck of a time getting anyone to come, I have tried writing personal letters, fliers given to each one at the clinic, the docs promote the classes (at least they say they do), I have personally called as well. Just like all facilities we have some very young moms that I know would benefit from the classes, if for nothing else than empower them to make choices and feel good about becoming a mother.

    Anyone that does classes have success and any ideas? I am open to about anything and my hospital will let me do pretty much whatever I want. I have thought about charging a small fee (~$20 +/-) and using the money to make "gift baskets" to all that come and have one in the clinic so they can see what they would get????

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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    I don't know about charging. If they won't come when it is free, why would they come if they have to pay? I don't freebies would make much difference.

    It sounds like you have the support of a lot of health care professionals who are recommending your class, so I am suprised at your low numbers.

    Also, maybe people are getting information else where? I know that there are quite a few free (good) on-line podcasts for pregnant moms. I have listed to quite a few in my own time and on my own terms, and have learned quite a lot from them. Maybe you could start one yourself and use it as a way to get people to come to your class?

    Have you done any survery with your "gradutates" about what they liked or didn't like, what they would want more or less of? Are you catering to the population you are teaching? I would imagine different cultures and maybe even socioeconomic groups may even have different wants or needs for a class.

    And it could be you are doing everything you can and should, but you just maybe live in an area where this type of thing isn't valued? My sister didn't go to child birth classes because she was just going to "get an epidural." And didn't see the need. Sadly enough, it often seems like the people who need the education the most are the ones don't get it.

    Maybe these young moms-to-be don't have the ability to have someone (or themselves) drive them to another class? Makes me wonder if they cancel or now-show some of their OB appointments as well.

    Good luck!
    Last edit by scribblerpnp on Aug 4, '08
    ruralnurs and Elvish like this.
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    Maybe a class in another location besides the hospital? (library, a church, etc.) Edited to add - thanks for teaching your patients to advocate for themselves. :bowingpur
    ruralnurs likes this.
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    I live in a very metro area and, while I am not yet an RN I have taught CB and know most of the RN's who teach locally. It's NOT you! It's NOT your small town. Sometimes I think that most young women think they learned all they need to while watching A Baby Story.

    We could have a loooong dicussion IMO about the consumer culture and not valueing birth as a life altering, spiritual, powerful experiance, but as a means to an end. I won't though because right now I'm tired of hearing myself talk.

    One suggestion I have for you is that I think you might be on to something with charging a fee. I have heard MANY times from the local teachers never to do anyting for free. You could set a fee, and then have a "scholarship fund" for any families that show fiancial hardship. The old maxim that people don't value stuff that is free or subconciously believe that if it is free, it can't be valuable: it's true.

    Keep up the important work! It does mean something to the women who use it.
    ruralnurs likes this.
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    are you sure you arent in miss. it is the same exact thing here and it is absolutely blowing my mind
    ruralnurs likes this.
  8. 0
    Thanks for the support everyone. My thoughts about the small fee was exactly that...if something is free it is worthless if it costs it has value. Not always but often the is the case. I used to be a vet tech and often if someone got a free kitten and it got sick they refused to properly care for it but it seemed like those people that paid (even a small fee) for an animal it was better cared for (but not always of course).

    I got another suggestion to speak with the Human Services personnel in our area. I guess if a woman or family is on some type of assistance they are required to do a certain number of hours of community service. If I got in with the right people I may be able to get my class to be considered some of the hours they need to fulfill. I would hope that coming to a class would be more fun that sitting in an office someplace shredding paper.

    In my class I also go into shaken baby, SIDS, and I am a certified child passenger safety technician so talk about car seats. It is a pretty crammed full class doing all of that and labor and delivery and breastfeeding.

    We are in a small community and it is poverty ridden so if I charged a fee I would have to have a scholarship fund and I am pretty sure our hospital volunteers would do that.

    I do think that the mentality of "I am just going to have an epidural anyway" is part of it. They don't realize there is a lot more to learn about childbirth/breastfeeding/infant care and its not all about pain management (although I go into that too).

    Thanks again and keep those ideas coming I will take any info I can get!


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