People: Lois Rousey, maternity ward nurse

February 09, 2004|GARY MOYERS

Thirty years worth of babies delivered at Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center have at least one extra mom.

That's how long Lois Rousey has been working in the maternity ward at the hospital.

"Many of the patients who come in here now, I was working here when they were delivered," she said. "I know their parents. I feel like a mother to a lot of these patients."

Rousey has no children of her own, which may explain her attachment to her patients.

"That's why all the children born here become my family, I guess. I get very attached to them," she said.

Rousey said she loves the atmosphere in the maternity ward, which is why she's spent her entire career there.

"It's the best department here, as far as I'm concerned," she said. "We have a family closeness. Some of us have been here a long time, and we work together very well. Most of the people who get in this ward don't want to leave."


Rousey's dedication to her job has earned praise from co-workers and her supervisors.

"Lois is wonderful," said supervisor Dru Hall. "I'd put her up against any OB nurse here or anywhere. She takes care of the entire family as well as the patient, and they love her for it. She handles supervisor duties in addition to her regular work, and she excels at it.

"I don't know anyone who knows as much about her job as Lois does."

Last year the maternity ward delivered 800 babies, and 900 the year before. Rousey said a key component for smooth operation is behind-the-scenes training for the nurses.

"We have to keep up with our education in addition to working," she said. "Each of us is certified in our specialties, and we keep up with related educational courses as well. Everyone here takes an interest in everybody's else's job, so we can step in and help in emergencies."

That extra knowledge has paid off more than once for patients. Hall cited one particular instance recently in which the blood work of a baby born prematurely appeared normal at first look, but Rousey caught an anomaly and alerted the doctor to take a another reading. It turned out the move was a good one, alerting doctors to a potentially dangerous condition. They made necessary medication and treatment adjustments.

"Lois has a passion for her work, and she goes the extra mile to make sure her babies are safe," said Hall. "You can't stay in this business for 30 years and not have a passion for it, and it definitely shows through with her."

Rousey said she much prefers things to go smoothly.

"The best days are the routine ones, where everything goes the way it's supposed to," she said. "But when things do get hectic, you have to be calm, no matter what. The more you get excited, the more it scares the patient and the family," she said. "You have to stay calm, even when you know things are not going well."

Rousey said one of her favorite parts of the job is hearing about the babies as they grow up.

"It's really nice to hear from former patients," she said. "They send us a lot of pictures to keep us up with how the children do once they leave here, and a lot of times they come back to visit and bring the children. That's so much fun."

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