How to Use Hospitals’ Whiteboards as A Coaching Strategy

Exciting Steps towards Improved Communication

I’m constantly searching for coaching props and strategies that can help me coach expectant parents throughout pregnancy and childbirth. I have been developing tools and strategies for some time now and excitedly shared them with the community of birth support pros in previous posts and in my book. So, you can imagine my excitement when I came across a few resources affirming the use of white dry-erase boards in L&D for improving communication and maternal care. Whiteboards could help hospitals cut C-section rates,” said one resource and another concluded that “the use of a well-designed whiteboard increases laboring patients’ knowledge of their delivery physician’s name and may improve patient satisfaction with care on Labor and Delivery.”

I believe writing down the treatment plan and the physician’s name is a good step toward establishing a patient-provider partnership. However, I think we can do much better! L&D Nursing staff can go beyond these somewhat ‘dry’ medical nuggets of information and use the whiteboard, dry-erase or digital, to establish two-sided communication rather than one-sided delivery of information. Why should we minimize the information on the whiteboard to the clinical details and names when we can use it as a powerful coaching strategy?

Using the Whiteboard to Establish Patient-Provider Partnerships

How can nursing staff effectively use the dry-erase whiteboard to achieve patient engagement and build the partnership between providers and their patients, that was found by the AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) to improve quality and safety of care? I’ve got some wonderful ideas to share. Here is what I suggest writing on the board:

  •  Three most important wishes/goals of the patient for her birth experience.
  • Three strategies that can help the patient cope with labor pain or moments of distress.
  • Things the patient wishes to avoid.
  • Patients’ preferred environment.
  • Patients’ satisfaction with care providers so far (1-10)

What do you think? Do you see how having this information on the board can help increase vaginal healthy deliveries and patients’ satisfaction level?

How Can Birth Coaches Achieve the Same Goal?

As for birth doulas and coaches, sending a follow-up email with a recap of your prenatal session and an assigned area of practice is functionally identical to the whiteboard. It strengthens the partnership you establish with your client. It builds trust – she is understood and served well. Additionally, it elicits your client’s accountability level and her commitment to her desired birth experience.

Neri Life-Choma

I am the founder of Birth Coach Method and am celebrating 20 years of leadership in the field of childbirth support. Throughout my career, I have been honored to provide doula support and teach childbirth ed. classes to hundreds of expectant couples, as well as to direct two birth resource centers. I am also a doula leader in my community in the South Bay area of Silicon Valley in California.
Neri Life-Choma

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