The birthing process is a natural and wonderful part of life, yet it is also a moment when patients and their families most require the compassionate and steady assurance of a professional nurse.
Anne Shields is an expert in obstetrical nursing. Today she brings her special skills to the Perinatal Nurse Birthing Program at B.C. Women’s Hospital and as an instructor in Perinatal Specialty Nursing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Her decades of acquired experience as both a practicing nurse and nurse educator are contributing to a new generation obtaining essential skills. In all that she does, she demonstrates exceptional nursing knowledge, clinical decision making, professional accountability and application of evidence-based health research.
In the field of obstetrics, complications can turn up any time that might intimidate someone with less knowledge or experience, but Anne always knows what to do Nancy Hewer, RN recalls one time when Anne’s skills particularly came to the fore: “While caring for a woman in labour with her first child, her birth plan was not unfolding as expected. Her partner and midwife were trying desperately to keep her on the path that she had laid out, yet her labour was not progressing. Anne recognized the signs of obstructed labour and reviewed what had to be done…
“It was clear that the woman wanted an epidural, yet she was not being supported in that choice by her partner or the midwife,” Hewer says. “Anne outlined her concerns and observations and listened to the opinions of everyone involved. Ultimately, she ensured informed consent by explaining risks and benefits and by drawing on the evidence to explain the impact of different options.” It was a challenging situation on multiple levels, yet Anne’s clear focus on what was best for the patient helped this situation to have a happy ending—one of many such situations where she made the difference.
Anne acts as a mentor and strives to engage new staff and students to feel welcome and safe. “Anne is an effective leader in our multidisciplinary program,” says Laura Folino. “She leads beyond the daily running of our unit by actively checking in with her colleagues to ensure we are emotionally well, especially after a difficult case.”
Anne’s ability to lead and mentor is grounded in exceptional training and lifelong learning. Since obtaining a Diploma in Nursing from Centennial College in 1988, she has obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Toronto. She has updated her skills many times, obtaining her Fetal Health Surveillance in Labour Instructor Certification, Newborn Resuscitation Instructor Certification and other certifications. She has also been active as a fetal health surveillance instructor for BC Ambulance Service, attending various safety rounds, leading clinical debriefings and participating in other professional activities.
“This is the kind of nurse I want to be,” RN Lindsay Babic once said after seeing Anne in action, calmly educating a family about the labour process and what she was doing for her patient. She inspires and helps so many others to provide the best possible care to their patients.