Special delivery: Doctors at JGH Birthing Centre donate gym equipment to nursing team

Professionals from the JGH Family Birthing Centre with gym equipment donated to the nursing team. From left: Dr. Roberta Shear, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Head Nurse Senait Meskele and Dr. Ioana Ciuntu, a Family Medicine Physician who practises in Obstetrics.
Professionals from the JGH Family Birthing Centre with gym equipment donated to the nursing team. From left: Dr. Roberta Shear, Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Head Nurse Senait Meskele and Dr. Ioana Ciuntu, a Family Medicine Physician who practises in Obstetrics.

Gifts highlight physician-nurse partnership in one of Quebec’s busiest birthing centres

Teamwork produces tiny miracles every day at the JGH Family Birthing Centre, and now it’s given birth to an inspiring new idea.

In response to a request from the nursing team, physicians at the Birthing Centre have gifted nurses with an elliptical machine, weights, rubber exercise bands, mats and other exercise gear. The equipment now occupies a third-flood lounge in Pavilion D, offering staff the chance to stay fit and decompress while taking a break from their fast-paced work environment.

“Exercise is a way of improving both physical and mental health,” says Senait Meskele, Head Nurse in the Family Birthing Centre, who was behind the project. “You need a space where you can work out and release your energy.”

The gym is another example of the close collaboration between nurses and doctors at one of Quebec’s busiest and largest birthing centres.

“This is a tangible way for us to show we appreciate the nurses, and to show that we care,” says Dr. Roberta Shear, JGH’s Chief of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

“It’s an important step in recognizing what a pivotal role our nurses play.”

Dr. Roberta Shear

The inspiration for the gym came from Ms. Meskele, who mentioned her project during a conversation late last year with Dr. Ioana Ciuntu, a Family Medicine physician who practises in Obstetrics.

Within weeks, Dr. Ciuntu had arranged to deliver an elliptical machine that she had at home, along with some elastic exercise bands.

Dr. Ciuntu views the donation as a way to promote health while helping retain nurses in the Birthing Centre. “We’re a family here. We care about each other,” Dr. Ciuntu says. “I want to show that no matter what, the physicians and nurses are there for one another. It’s important for the team to be strong.”

More donations followed in the spring. In the lead-up to Nursing Week in May, physicians asked nurses to draw up a wish list; among the requests was exercise gear. When Nursing Week rolled around, the nurses received weights, an exercise ball and yoga mats from Dr. Shear and Dr. Stephanie Klam, Director of the Divisions of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Obstetrical Ultrasound.

Dr. Shear says the donations are a testament to the way nurses and doctors depend on one another to form a tight-knit team. The Centre is one of Quebec’s five tertiary-care referral centres for high-risk pregnancies, creating a work setting with high stakes, long hours and a fast pace.

“There can be joyous situations but there can be stressful, emergency, high-pressure situations as well,” Dr. Shear explains. In such an environment, collaboration is crucial.

“We rely on each other so much, and we really collaborate quite beautifully together. Literally, the place could not function without nurses.”

Dr. Roberta Shear

“We couldn’t provide the care we provide without them,” Dr. Shear adds.

With the exercise equipment now in place, Ms. Meskele hopes to build up the gym and even add exercise classes for nurses. The idea has a promising future: When doctors and nurses from the Birthing Centre work hand in hand, they know they can deliver.