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Nurse finds beauty in birth

May 21, 2002|BY ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

To Linda Green, no sound is sweeter than a baby's first scream.

Green has listened to a virtual symphony of infants during her 28 years in the Family Birthing Center at Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown.

She can hardly walk down the street, she said, without running into one of the mothers she helped care for during her 26 years as a nursing assistant in the hospital's labor and delivery unit and the past two years as a registered nurse there.

"People stop me on the street all the time and say, 'You were there when I had my baby,'" said Green, 52, of Hagerstown.

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As a nursing assistant, Green helped care for maternity patients. She kept expectant mothers fed and active prior to their labors, cleaned them up after birth and helped teach new moms how to feed and care for their infants.

Her responsibilities - especially her work with newborns - have increased since she became a registered nurse two years ago.

But her attitude about her work hasn't changed.

"I want all my patients to know that I'm there for them. I let them know that giving birth is something that can be beautiful and wonderful," she said.

Her boss, clinical manager Jody Bishop, said Green's dedication to her patients makes her an exemplary nurse.

"No matter who her patients are, Linda wants to make (giving birth) a positive experience for them," Bishop said.

Green, a Hancock native, went to work as a nursing assistant at Western Maryland Hospital Center soon after graduating from high school in 1968. She left work for several years to care for her first child, then returned to the health-care profession as a nursing assistant in the labor and delivery unit at Washington County Hospital.

Green remembered the early years of her job, when fathers waited in the lobby as expectant moms tackled the birthing process alone. New mothers received little education about prenatal health care, labor breathing techniques and newborn care, Green said.

The entire family is now part of the birthing process at Washington County Hospital, Green said. Most women are more prepared to give birth, Green said.

She watched those changes taking place while working full time in the Family Birthing Center, raising her three children, and taking one class at a time at Hagerstown Community College.

After more than 10 years in college, Green earned her nursing degree in 2000.

She credits her colleagues in the birthing center - and the hospital's 100 percent tuition reimbursement program - with giving her the support she needed to become a registered nurse.

The supportive working environment and her love for her job have convinced Green to finish her career at Washington County Hospital, she said.

"This is home. I don't want to go anywhere else."

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