20 Actions in 20 Days: Health Professional Training

20 Actions in 20 Days

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has called on the entire nation to take 20 concrete action steps from the January 2011 Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding to support the removal of barriers to breastfeeding. The United States Breastfeeding Committee is hosting a “20 Actions in 20 Days” campaign to highlight these action steps and implementation strategies.

Action 9. Provide education and training in breastfeeding for all health professionals who care for women and children.

According to the Call to Action, clinicians are consistently identified by patients as preferred sources of information and guidance on breastfeeding. Implementation strategies to improve health professional training include:

  • Improve the breastfeeding content in undergraduate and graduate education and training for health professionals.
  • Establish and incorporate minimum requirements for competency in lactation care into health professional credentialing, licensing, and certification processes.
  • Increase opportunities for continuing education on the management of lactation to ensure the maintenance of minimum competencies and skills.
Higher Education

Baptist Health teams up with Florida State College of Jacksonville Primary Nurses to provide a 2-hour training class on “breastfeeding 101.” The classes are taught each semester by RN–board certified International Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) each year with about 20 students in attendance at each class.

Shands Jacksonville teams up with the University of Florida and the University of North Florida Health Education programs each year. Part of the undergraduate degree requirements for these health education students is to complete an internship during their last semester. The Shands lactation program offers an internship which selects and trains 1-3 health education students per semester to promote and protect breastfeeding.

Under the guidance of an IBCLC, the students teach women about breastfeeding prenatally, help with position and latch on techniques during the first hour and throughout the hospital stay, present research-based education to staff and families via bulletin boards, display breastfeeding promotion and education materials at health fairs and more.

At the Seton Center for Women and Children at St. Vincent’s HealthCare’s Riverside campus, student nurses from FSCJ and UNF regularly spend a day in the office seeing postpartum moms or accompanying the hospital Lactation Consultant on rounds in the hospital. The Seton Center also precepts nurses working on their advanced degree who do their individual community portion/project at Seton Center. They participate in the appointment and in assisting mothers with breastfeeding issues.

Within St. Vincent’s HealthCare’s Family Practice Residency Program, each resident spends time at the Seton Center office and accompanies the Lactation Consultant on rounds in the hospital. A presentation is also given by a Seton Center lactation consultant to the residents every year.

Health Professionals

The U.S. Breastfeeding Committee has a list of core competencies all health care professionals should possess. They are intended by the Committee to provide a guideline and framework to integrate evidence-based breastfeeding knowledge, skills and attitudes into standard health care delivery practices.

In Northeast Florida, the Northeast Florida Breastfeeding Collaborative held grand rounds in May 2010 about the benefits of breastfeeding and the Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative.

The Florida Breastfeeding Coalition hosts webinars for hospitals and health professionals about breastfeeding and how to become a baby-friendly facility.

Currently, two Seton Center nurses are in the process of doing a lunch & learn at every OB/GYN office on campus. The one-hour program is about how OB physicians and office staff can promote breastfeeding to their patients.