Ponnamma Mathai, BSN, RNC-OB, of Christiana Hospital, has received a DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses.
Mathai, who came to ChristianaCare as a travel nurse from India and is now a staff nurse on the Labor and Delivery Unit, was nominated by her colleague, Carly Rechenberg, for making a pregnant woman’s wishes for her delivery come true.
Rechenberg wrote in her nomination that she was assigned to a patient who was attempting a vaginal delivery after a previous cesarean section. Though the patient was 8 centimeters dilated, her progress had stalled. Then Mathai offered to help.
“She has many years of experience supporting and empowering women through childbirth,” Rechenberg wrote. “The nurses on the unit say, ‘If anyone can get their patient to deliver vaginally, it’s her!’”
When the patient and her husband, along with the care team, decided to proceed with a C-section, the patient was devastated, Rechenberg wrote. “The patient so desperately wanted to experience a vaginal birth,” she wrote.
But because other C-section cases were in the operating rooms, the patient’s surgery wouldn’t happen for several hours. Mathai decided to check the patient’s cervix during the wait, Rechenberg wrote, and found that she had dilated another centimeter. Mathai advocated for the patient to have another four hours to labor, and the care team agreed.
Rechenberg wrote that Mathai regularly checked the patient’s progress. “She used her extensive knowledge to direct position changes,” Rechenberg wrote. When the patient was fully dilated, Mathai guided her through some practice pushes while Rechenberg called the care team and set up for the delivery.
“My patient and her husband were elated,” Rechenberg wrote. After the patient successfully delivered her son, the patient’s husband hugged Mathai and thanked her for her work. “The patient, with a beautiful baby on her chest, had tears in her eyes as she exclaimed, ‘It’s because of you that I did it,’” Rechenberg wrote.
It wasn’t unusual for Mathai to volunteer to assist another nurse, Rechenberg wrote. “She consistently goes out of her way to share her knowledge with others on the unit. She is often consulted by other nurses for her opinion,” Rechenberg wrote.
“We are lucky to have her as a nurse on our team. She consistently displays exceptional clinical skills, compassion, respect, and partnership.”