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Renown Health and Nurses Recognized for Excellence in Lactation Care


Renown Regional Medical Center nurses Christine Neely, RN, Christine Turley, RN, and Desaree Wroblewski, RN, recently achieved breastfeeding certification by passing the International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLC) exam. Robin Hollen, RN, passed the exam for the third time. In 1991, Hollen was the first person in Nevada to become board-certified.

As members of the maternal-child health team at Renown, IBCLCs provide expert breastfeeding and lactation care, while making referrals to other health professionals and community resources.

Additionally, Renown Health earned the IBCLC Care Award in recognition for staffing IBCLCs and providing a lactation program that is available at least five days a week for breastfeeding families. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners (IBLCE) and International Lactation Consultant Association (ILCA) awarded the recognition to Renown for its excellence in lactation care and activities that help protect, promote and support breastfeeding.

According to Cathy Carothers, president of ILCA, “This recognition highlights the efforts being made by maternity facilities all across the world to help mothers get off to a good start with breastfeeding, and to support them in reaching their goals. IBCLCs have the only internationally recognized lactation certification in the world and are highly skilled in helping mothers with the questions and concerns that can arise. They are also an important part of the overall maternal and child health team by assuring that evidence-based policies and practices are in place that help mothers succeed with breastfeeding.”

The certified lactation nurses are available during pregnancy to assess the mother and provide information on how to get off to a good start. They continue that assistance after the baby is born by answering questions and helping mothers latch their babies appropriately. They also assist mothers returning to work or school and help mothers in more unusual situations such as breastfeeding more than one baby, nursing a sick or premature infant and dealing with other challenges.

To become a Certified Lactation Consultant one must meet stringent qualifications: Higher education in health sciences; clinical practice in providing care to breastfeeding families; and education specifically about human lactation and breastfeeding.

Completing the requirements results in eligibility to take the day-long certification exam, which is only given once a year. The exam must be retaken every 10 years, and continuing education units specific to breastfeeding must be completed every five years.

Renown is collaborating with the State of Nevada to offer a five-day course that will help employees meet the 90-hour continuing education requirement for certification. “This shows the commitment Renown has to certification,” said Jean Hixon, RN for Women and Children’s Services at Renown. Hixon first became certified in 2000 and passed the exam again in 2010.

“We help other family members or visitors, in addition to moms,” said Wroblewski. Assistance can be needed in any situation in which a breastfeeding infant is involved, and employees throughout the hospital are getting the benefit of lactation expertise.

There are 4,000-5,000 births at Renown each year, and 75 to 80 percent of new moms want to breastfeed, Hixon said. But it doesn’t always come naturally.

“Keeping a baby fed is one of the highest-stress areas for new families. A new parent can feel overwhelmed,” Wroblewski said. “Now I feel more confident and can be a resource for other employees.”

Certification brings credibility to lactation, Hollen said. “Families need support in prenatal, on the floor and at home. We provide a seamless continuum to help families.”

In addition to finding IBCLCs at Renown Health, mothers can also find an IBCLC near them by visiting the ILCA website at www.ilca.org. Follow the “Find a Lactation Consultant” link and search for an IBCLC by postal code, city and state or country.

Renown Health, Reno’s only locally owned, not-for-profit integrated health network, is home to the region’s only NACHRI-affiliated Children’s Hospital; the region’s only hospital affiliated with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals; the region’s only Children’s ER; the region’s only Wilbur D. May Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the largest Neonatal ICU in northern Nevada; The John and Sue Dermody Children’s Healing Garden; northern Nevada’s only Cystic Fibrosis Program; and the region’s only Children’s Specialty Care center, treating patients with tumors, cancer, blood disease and other major illnesses.

For more information and to follow the hospital’s progress, visit renown.org/children.


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