Get On Board

This week LaToya Parhm guest blogs on how the principle of managing up can be used when implementing the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. LaToya is a R.N. and charge nurse in the Childbirth Unit. She graduated with a nursing degree from Indiana University and later became certified in inpatient obstetrics. LaToya has also been teaching childbirth classes at Memorial since 2008. 

Get on board! With our journey to baby friendly, of course! Some have many reservations when it comes to all the work it will take to receive this designation. These reservations may be personal reasons or “what-ifs.” Is it just a matter of educating yourself on the risks of breast milk substitutes and the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding and ‘VOILA,’ like magic, you’re on board? Maybe for some…or do you need more? The next step is to Manage Up.

Managing up entails learning the goals of your organization or your boss and evaluating how your goals align. If you want to be described as indispensable and valuable in your job, it is crucial that you work in harmony with your boss’s vision. Yes, it involves our future success! Currently our leadership has the vision to have Baby Friendly Designation by 2015. Each of us has to make a concerted effort to make this vision a success and not impede it no matter how difficult a task it may seem.

Once you have decided to ‘get on board’ you can have a positive effect on others by managing up, as taught to us here at Memorial Hospital of South Bend. In the words of Quint Studor, “Managing up (positioning people in a positive light) is somewhat counter-cultural. It may not come naturally, but it is worth the effort. It makes everyone feel better about themselves, their bosses, their co-workers and the organization.”[1]

Talk about our goal to others and praise them when they contribute something positive towards it. This style of managing up engenders success for you and the person you speak to because teamwork becomes evident. This can contribute to a positive environment in light of the change in practice that is soon to come!

Managing up can also be used when interacting with our patients and their families. When an apprehensive mom expresses concern related to her ability to breastfeed, health care professionals have an influential role in the eventual turnout. We can either encourage or discourage her by the words we choose. How, you wonder?

Well, I witnessed this example firsthand last month when assisting a longtime labor and delivery nurse with a birth. The mom expressed, “I don’t think I will be able to breastfeed this baby because of the problems I had last time, but I will try.” The nurse could have responded, “If the baby doesn’t want to breastfeed we’ll give baby formula.” This response definitely would not empower this mother to believe she can breastfeed her infant successfully.

The nurse instead responded, “You are going to be able to breastfeed this baby. I can help you.” The feeding was a success! That simple statement gave the mom what she needed to succeed no matter what the obstacle. Our own knowledge of the importance of breastfeeding is not enough. We have to pass this information on to our patients in order to have the most optimal outcomes for our families.

If our goal is to do what is best for our patients, we will do everything we can to make sure our customers know how important this vision is, not only for their health but also the health of our community!

So why not board the train to success and Our Baby Friendly Hospital Designation!


[1] Studor, Quint. (2008). Manage Up to Improve Performance. Cultural shift to a positive workplace is possible.

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About blogtobabyfriendly

blogtobabyfriendly is written by Amy Murray, a Childbirth Unit nurse with a touch of earth muffin crunch. A childbirth educator and IBCLC, she's been a breastfeeding advocate all her adult life, believing that if our bodies make milk, it just makes good sense to feed it to our babies. blogtobabyfriendly is her hospital's journey to Baby-Friendly designation. Click to get email updates on new blog posts. Our desire is to learn, share, and learn more.
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2 Responses to Get On Board

  1. I experienced managing up at Memorial before learning about it. The nurse I was taking over for introduced me to a patient and told her I would take awesome care of her. I remember how good that felt, that a very experienced nurse would talk about my nursing care in such a positive way. It made me feel all the more motivated to provide the best possible patient experience I could!

  2. Cindy Werner RN BSN IBCLC says:

    This post was a wonderful reminder of how powerful “managing up” can be! After reading this, I will definitely be more mindful of taking notice and complimenting my co-workers when the mission of baby-friendly is evident in the care of their patients.
    Thank-you LaToya for this very insightful post, I really enjoyed it!

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