Doulas: Why You Need To Be Nice First
A doula was complaining on Facebook in response to one of my posts about getting along with nurses. “Why do I have to be the one to put forth the effort? I wish some nurse would try to get along with me first.” Here’s why it’s up to the professional birth doula:
- You are a guest in her house.
- Making the first move sets the tone for every communication and interaction that follows. Why not use this opportunity to your advantage?
- You only get one chance to make a first impression – and it takes three times as much experience with you to change someone’s mind. Make those first minutes count.
- You are an ambassador for all birth doulas. Your actions reflect on all of us.
- Social skills and emotional intelligence are a significant part of a doula’s success.
- “Hostess” is implied in our job description.
- Hospitals are set up for the mass production of a number of patients moving through the system. When you ask the nurse to change what she usually does to personalize care for your client (even when it is evidence based), she may get flak from other nurses or doctors for doing so. Therefore you need to be grateful when you hear “yes” and accept “no” graciously. (It doesn’t mean your clients stop trying – it means you are polite.)
- The last doula may not have behaved optimally.
- As unfortunate as this is, a client may be treated negatively by the nurse or medical care provider for a poorly behaving doula. I think we can all agree it is unacceptable to stress out anyone at a birth over our behavior.
- When you make an effort, especially a big one, the “norm of reciprocity” states the nurse will naturally want to keep things in balance. So you get what you give.