Being a first-time mom can be so many things — stressful, nerve-wracking, terrifying — the list goes on. For Laketta Booker, 26, it was all of those things until she enrolled in Goodwill's Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP)® and met her nurse, Ketta Mason.
Goodwill's Nurse-Family Partnership pairs at-risk, first-time moms with their own personal nurse at no cost. This partnership supports mothers and families in providing the very best start for their children during the earliest and most developmentally critical years. Nurse-Family Partnership is a national community health program, widely researched and recognized for increasing health care access and improving health outcomes.
Laketta discovered Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership as she was registering for The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and applied to be a part of the program immediately. By doing so, Laketta ensured an excellent start for her baby and was able to meet and get to know her nurse before the birth of her baby girl, Zhorri.
“Initially, our visits are once a week for four weeks, so we can have a ‘get to know you’ period and try to build up a level of trust,” said Ketta Mason, Laketta’s nurse. “Then we meet every two weeks, up until the baby is born. After that, I’m back to once a week visits for six weeks, and I get to stay paired with them until Zhorri turns two years old and they graduate from the program.”
All of the time spent together before Zhorri arrived ensured Laketta felt comfortable and ready for what happens during pregnancy, delivery and after the birth of her baby.
"I felt so prepared for my labor — I was ready for pretty much everything that comes with it,” said Laketta. "My nurse helped me during my pregnancy with my eating habits, preparing for my baby, and making sure I had what I needed before she got here. Once my baby was born, I knew how to take care of her and keep her safe."
Often though, it's not just the moms who benefit from the partnership with a personal nurse. Having the rest of the family on board is just as important. Nurse Ketta explains, "You can take care of your baby perfectly at home and make sure everything is just so. But then they may go to a grandparents’ or aunts' house for care, and they may not follow those same practices. It's important for everyone to know that the baby needs to sleep safely, be breastfed if possible, and not be around smoking to help decrease the likelihood of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). It’s essential we are able to connect with the entire family to continue to make an impact on Indiana's infant mortality rate."
While decreasing infant mortality rates is certainly a goal of Nurse-Family Partnership, preparing moms and their families for the future is another critical support nurses provide.
One of the goals that Laketta and Ketta discussed included working and child care.
"Laketta wants to get a job, but she does not want to have her baby in child care. So, what does that look like?,” said Ketta. “For Laketta, it looks like working on the weekends, so her mother can watch the baby during that time."
Laketta's plans for the future don't only include a new job, though. Eventually, she wants to attend college and pursue a career in nursing.
“Babies don’t come with a manual, but they can come with the support of Goodwill’s Nurse-Family Partnership,” said Ketta.