Hospital Based Doulas: Challenges, Benefits, and Best Practices for Program Success

Dr. Gilliland's research on hospital based doulas spans ten years and five programs in three U.S. cities.  Her informants are the birth doulas, nurses who work with them, and patients who have received their services. By combining the perspectives of all three kinds of study participants, a unique and well rounded portrait of the hospital employed staff doula emerges.  Through her original research with hospital based doulas and their clients, Dr. Gilliland illuminates the necessary skills, client expectations and needs, and nature of support provided by hospital based doulas. Clinical implications of this research and necessary conditions for a successful program are included. This work is very different from independent practice, volunteer, or community based doulaing, and has its own unique challenges and rewards.

Objectives: By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

1. List the four unique skills of the hospital based birth doula.
2. List ten unique challenges of hospital based birth doulas.
3. Identify the multiple and interacting conditions needed for a hospital based doula program’s success.

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