Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital recently added the services of a Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM) for expectant mothers.

Marissa Blair, RN, CNM attained her Nurse Midwife certification from Old Dominion University and is now working in the hospital's Mother/Baby Unit as well as seeing obstetric patients at Riverside Partners in Women's Health in Nassawadox.  She previously worked as a Labor and Delivery nurse in the Mother/Baby Unit for eight years before leaving to pursue her CNM certification.

In the United States, a CNM is an advanced practice registered nurse in nurse midwifery, the nursing care of women during normal, uncomplicated pregnancies and the postpartum period.

Midwives specialize in low-tech, high-touch support and education in addition to health care.  Expectant patients choose the care of a midwife in partnership with an obstetrician for care that focuses on the goals and choices of each pregnant woman.

Blair sees patients in the office during their pregnancies and helps them develop realistic birthing plans once they go into labor and deliver in the hospital.  She is also then available to a laboring mother while in the hospital and is backed up by an obstetrician at all times should any complications arise.  She also provides postpartum care to her patients.

Ann Pruitt, Nurse Manager of the Mother/Baby Unit, commented on Blair's role in the department, "We're super excited to have Marissa working with us - she's a great fit as a CNM and having her her helping expectant moms on the ward helps us run more effectively and improves patient care.  Her expertise and assistance on the unit allows our physicians to continue seeing patients at their practices without interruption.  She is a great addition to our staff and for patients."

Blair is an Eastern Shore native and is married to Ken Blair who also works as a Nurse Practitioner in the Emergency Department.  She remarked on the change in her role, "I truly love working with my patients, and the Mother/Baby staff and physicians at Shore Memorial are fantastic.  Getting to know a patient before delivery and working with her to plan for the birthing experience she wants is so important.  It can ensure that my patients have the best birthing experience possible in a safe environment.  Midwifery is so rewarding;  it is gratifying to help bring new life into the world and to focus on women's health."

In Virginia, highly-trained CNMs must have a minimum of a graduate degree, such as the Master of Science in Nursing or a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, must mass the NCLEX examination to become a registered nurse, must pass the American Midwifery Certification Board exams, and must stay up to date on the latest medical knowledge in their field in order to remain certified.  They have authority to attend births, counsel patients on reproductive care and primary care, write prescriptions and counsel patients on nutrition and parenting.

Nick Chuquin, Director of Riverside Medical Group, offered, "Marissa is a very special addition to our maternity team.  She was inspired to take her passion to the next level, and our whole community benefits from her extensive training and her dedication to women's health."

Published: January 4, 2017