Certified nurse midwife Janna Jones Kersh first experienced childbirth as part of high school mentoring program. What she didn’t already know about childbirth was learned on the spot during what she described as a life-altering experience.
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“After I got over the shock of all the blood and the placenta, I was overwhelmed,” she says. “The magnitude of what I saw that day never left me.”
Jones Kersh completed high school and then went on to the University of Georgia to study child and family development. While in class one day she had her second brush with midwifery: a guest speaker on human development who also happened to be a certified midwife. By the time she left class that day, she’d discovered her career path.
After earning her undergraduate degree, Jones Kersh attended Vanderbilt University Nursing School, which is home to one of the nation’s leading midwifery programs. She later practiced primary care and labor and delivery as part of her graduate studies. Now a member of Beaufort Memorial Obstetrics & Gynecology Specialists, Jones Kersh provides both gynecologic and primary care services for patients at the busy practice.
Jones Kersh collaborates with the physicians at the practice much the way a nurse practitioner would. “I am an advanced practice nurse with a specialized education in midwifery,” she says. According to Jones Kersh, midwives can provide pain control and write prescriptions. They are trained to approach birth holistically, intervening only when necessary. In the event of complications, a midwife has on-the-spot support from a board-certified OB-GYN.
Jones Kersh knows people have a lot of perceptions about midwives and their role in women’s health care. “Many people think midwives are only for hippie chicks or that we just deliver babies,” she says. “I provide care to a woman throughout her lifespan, from adolescence to beyond menopause.”
Adapted from Pink Magazine.