The day had finally come and yesterday I completed my first clinical abroad in the Obstetrics unit! I happened to be with a nurse on the delivery floor where mothers were transported when they are expected to deliver within a few days. Prior to coming to the Netherlands, I had completed rotations on every floor including Obstetrics so I was eager to see the differences between how the United States operated versus how Nijmegen operated and boy, was I surprised!
Backstory with my experience in Obstetrics in the United States. I only had one day on that floor and the mother I was in charge of remained at 3 cm dilation for my entire shift so I did not see or help with a delivery. I did, however, observe how they induced labor, assisted in giving medications to the mother, and learned all about the machines that track contractions and the fetal heart rate.
This being said, my mother on my clinical rotation in the Netherlands once again remained in a state of her water being broke throughout my entire shift. It was a slow day on the unit so my nurse showed me all about their “mom and baby floors”. The equipment was all the same but they did procedures differently! For example, the nurses were not responsible for delivering babies, the doctors were! Doctors are actually present on each unit which is something that blew me away.
Nurses are also responsible for different things. Back in the United States I am used to assessing head to toe, taking a history and using my beloved stethoscope but nurses are not responsible for that in the Netherlands! They are responsible for patient care, IV’s, fluids, medications, responding to call lights and documenting all they did in the patient’s chart. This makes it seem like less than it is and I’m not denying it is a lot of work but it was unique to adapt to.
The biggest down and dirty facts that I noticed between the hospitals in the United States is that most babies are delivered at home. They do not schedule C-sections like America does and if a mother’s water breaks, she is not induced into labor and can even wait 7 weeks before delivering (assuming there is no infection present). In addition, all babies under 32 weeks that are being delivered in Nijmegen are required to go to the hospital I was at. This is due to the levels of Neonatal Intensive Care Units they have and the equipment that is readily available.
The staff is very kind over here and I am fortunate to have been placed at a teaching hospital. I missed not being around patients these past two months so it was nice to have my spirits lifted once again.