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Keywords

Healthcare delivery, Pregnancy complications, Labor complications, Advanced practice nurse

 

Authors

  1. MACMULLEN, NANCY J. PHD, APN/CNS
  2. MEAGHER, BARBARA MSN, CNM, PNNP, RDMS

ABSTRACT

Labor and delivery units are often used to provide care for nonlaboring patients requiring intensive medical and nursing care. The utilization of labor beds in this manner, however, can result in a shortage of beds for those patients who are truly in labor. Unfortunately, patient dissatisfaction, use of supplemental staffing, and ill-prepared, overworked nurses can then become the result of this practice. Clearly, an improved, innovative model of providing care for high-risk perinatal patients is needed. The purpose of this article is to describe how one hospital and its interdisciplinary team met the challenge of providing expert care for complex perinatal patients by creating a unique model of patient care delivery, the perinatal special care unit (PSCU). An advanced practice nursing role, the perinatal nurse practitioner (PNNP) was implemented to provide collaborative care for these patients. This article includes a discussion of positive and negative outcomes that occurred after the PSCU became a reality. Overall, housing patients on the PSCU has eliminated inappropriate use of labor and delivery beds and has led to a more satisfying childbearing experience for all involved.