“Beginning with trust, ending with extraordinary outcomes.”
The Nurse-Family Partnership is an amazing organization with a branch right here in Rochester that teams up first-time, low-income pregnant women with nurses for free home visits. Every one to two weeks, from early in the pregnancy until the child turns two years old, the nurse visits the home. These nurses, who specialize in maternal and child health, help the women with maintaining healthy pregnancy lifestyles, preparing a safe home for the baby, getting access to quality prenatal and child healthcare, acquiring good parenting skills, and setting practical family goals. In addition, the nurses serve as “life coaches” for these women and help them figure out how to make education and employment a priority in their newfound lives as parents so that they can provide for their families.
I can write a lot about what the Nurse-Family Partnership is supposed to do, but I think it is important to highlight that the program has successfully improved community health. For example, during pregnancy, program participants have exhibited less hypertensive disorders, Children reared through the program have demonstrated fewer behavioral problems during childhood. These children have gone to the emergency room less for childhood accidents. The program works!
At the beginning of my PLC rotation (Pediatric Links with the Community), I had the opportunity to go to the Monroe County Nurse-Family Partnership Graduation Ceremony at the Rochester Public Library. The ceremony honored the mothers and their children who had successfully reached the 2-year mark of their commitment with the program and were ready to take their skills and enter the world. There were so many smiles in the room. As each mom walked across the stage with her child, the announcer shared a sweet anecdote: the mom who loved reading for her daughter every night before putting her to bed, the mom who was thankful she could go to school and still be able to provide for her son. These moms were given the support they needed to find their footing so that they could ensure their children’s wellness and happiness. I am very thankful I was able to watch them celebrate this important occasion.
The Nurse-Family Partnership represents what I stand for as a pediatrician: giving children a safe and healthy environment in which to grow and develop. No child should be denied this environment, and every mother should be given the chance to care for her child the best that she can. I hope that by writing about the Nurse-Family Partnership on this website, I can increase the organization’s presence in the community and make sure people in Rochester are aware that we have this great resource. If you know a mom-to-be who you think would benefit from some extra support, please refer her to the Nurse-Family Partnership!
By: Ariel Reinish, MD
691 St. Paul Street
Rochester, NY 14605