Bassett Medical Center’s Midwifery Program Honored Nationally for ‘Innovative and Compassionate’ Care

Bassett Medical Center's midwifery program received national attention recently when it received the With Women for a Lifetime Commendation from the American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM). This honor recognizes the hospital's 35-year history of providing midwife care to families of Central New York.

BMC's Current Midwife Team
Bassett's current nurse-midwife team from left to right: Patricia Otis, Laura O'Shea, Frances Sailer, Elizabeth Guiney, Kari Knudson, & Rosa Vuojolainen. Not pictured: Paula Lawrence (because someone is always on duty!)

"It's a great honor to receive this public recognition of our work," says Laura O'Shea, certified nurse midwife (CNM) at Bassett Medical Center (BMC). "As the director of midwifery, I am indebted to these incredible professionals that I work with every day. Bassett midwives have worked full tilt all the way through the ongoing COVID pandemic. The midwives appreciate the team approach to care. That includes nursing, pediatric, anesthesia, obstetric, and other caregivers in providing the optimal care for the families we serve."

As the ACNM explains, the With Women for a Lifetime Commendation celebrates BMC's record of providing "innovative and compassionate midwifery care" that puts "the heart of midwifery into practice." Midwifery practice is often misunderstood as being narrowly focused on pregnancy and childbirth – but it encompasses much more.

"We offer full-service, well-woman gynecology – from adolescence to menopause," remarks O'Shea. "Our work encompasses the whole person and their family. We encourage patients to participate in their care through counseling, education, and shared decision-making. Those are the hallmarks of midwifery care."

This award also recognizes the longevity of Bassett's program. Patty Brown, CNM, founded Bassett's evidenced-based midwifery program in the mid-1980s. Midwife programs with the longevity of Bassett's are not common in the United States, particularly in rural areas. Although the program has had its ebbs and flows over the years, it is still going strong. "We'll be back to eight midwives on staff this fall," says O'Shea.

Laura O'Shea also personally received the ACNM's Clinical Stars Award for her more than 25 years of midwifery service.