Continuing Education Resource


Empowering Health Care Professionals to Confidently Support Unique Families in Obstetric Care


Members and guests of the Central California Association of Neonatal Nurses (CCANN) took part in a dinner program sponsored by Mead Johnson Nutrition last September 12, 2019 at Campagnia in Fresno.


The topic for the night was “ Empowering Health Care Professionals to Confidently Support Unique Families in Obstetric Care”. Not just your normal run in the mill clinical nursing or medical topic that CCANN mostly features with its dinner program offerings but really, Unique Families?


Rebecca Vahle, MA, an elementary educator and adoptive mom was the speaker for this interesting topic. She is also the founder of Family-to-Family Support Network. The network is a pro-education, non-profit organization that partners with hospital professionals and community organizations to better serve families throughout pregnancy and post-delivery. With its Unique Families Program, it employs integrated, patient-centered approach with the mission to transform health care culture and services to be a unique family sensitive system wide and nationwide in providing consistent, neutral and compassionate care. On a client level, it empowers pregnant women and girls to make healthy decisions for themselves and their newborns. It provides comprehensive hospital and community training to provide compassionate care to every patient served, developing and supporting simple infrastructure to meet complex needs and connects community resources to address patient needs resulting in improved patient outcomes.


Unique families include families needing extra attention during the prenatal period in planning for their hospital time and warm hand-off to community resources. Examples of these are families facing adoption and surrogacy arrangements, incarcerated patients, socially complex families, refugees, immigrants, families struggling with critical issues and needs such as substance abuse disorder, sexual assault and domestic violence.


The attendees also learned to practice accurate adoption language. Learning the power of this language gave the attendees a different mindset on how using a compassionate tone is free from judgements of the words we use. Please refer to picture.


The triad of good food, inquisitive minds and an open attitude for new learnings, Miss Vahle’s final words for the night is “ awareness, education and empowerment is hardwired in all of us”. As caregivers, we all have an important role to play not just to our neonatal population but also to their families.