by James Coburn
It’s always interesting when patients learn that Michelle Garrison and Ashley Caldwell, both registered nurses, are mother and daughter.
Garrison and Caldwell have common paths in nursing. Both are labor and delivery nurses working at INTEGRIS Health Edmond. Both are registered nurses in school full-time.
“It doesn’t always fall that we get the same shift, but when we do it’s like a little treat that we get to work together,” Caldwell said.
Garrison is a full-time scholar in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at the University of Oklahoma. And Caldwell is a certified nurse midwife student at Frontier University in Kentucky. Garrison is certified in inpatient obstetrics and serves as a faculty member at the OU Health Sciences Center, Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.
In addition to Caldwell working at INTEGRIS Health Edmond and going to school full-time, she is also an adjunct clinical instructor at Oklahoma City Community College. She does clinicals for their third semester, Caldwell said.
“It’s especially touching to me because the nurse who took care of me when this daughter was born at Stanford Hospital, was the inspiration for me becoming a labor and delivery nurse,” Garrison said.
“Now we are 30 years later, both doing what we love,” she added.
Garrison said she is amazed at her daughter’s knowledge of obstetrics and her love and devotion for becoming a midwife as an advocate for labor patients to have the experience they desire.
Caldwell was 8-10 years old when her mom was in nursing school.
“She always told me, ‘Something that I would like to do, maybe, is be a nurse midwife,’” Caldwell said. “I would say, ‘What is that?’”
Garrison would explain a midwife is a nurse who can deliver babies. As Caldwell grew up and went to nursing school, she attended her first birth and was hooked immediately, she said. When she decided to go back to school to earn her master’s degree Caldwell opted to become a nurse midwife.
“She always says, ‘If I was younger, I’d go back and do it,’” Caldwell said.
A certified nurse midwife is distinct from Caldwell’s current role as a labor and delivery nurse. As an advanced practice nurse, a midwife offers primary care for women from the onset of puberty to menopause just as a women’s health nurse practitioner does.
“I can do clinic, prescribe birth control, do family planning and annual exams,” Caldwell said. “Midwifes have the added bonus that they have a specialty in obstetrics.”
A nurse midwife offers prenatal care, intrapartum care and delivery low-risk pregnancies as well as work in an inpatient labor and delivery setting, said Caldwell, who graduated from nursing school at OSU/OKC before earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
She has been with INTEGRIS since 2010 and at the Women’s Center in Edmond for nearly two years.
“I just love it here. I like that we’re a big family here,” Caldwell said. “We’re kind of a smaller unit, but we’re growing. I’ve worked for these women for a long time and I love it here.”
Garrison was first to work at INTEGRIS Health Edmond. Caldwell was working at INTEGRIS Southwest and transferred to Edmond.
Garrison graduated from Rochester Community College in Minnesota. She then earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Southwestern Oklahoma State in Weatherford and earned her Master of Science degree at OU.
As a full-time scholar in the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at OU, Garrison can choose to work in administration, education and the clinical setting.
“The difference between a DNP and a Ph.D. is a Ph.D. is research based. The DNP is clinical based, and I’m a more clinical based person,” Garrison said.
She is just finishing her first year and everything she has learned at OU is pertinent to working as a leader on the nursing floor, Garrison said.
“So INTEGRIS, when I came to work here, I found the group of nurses that work here are so experienced and talented,” Garrison continued. “We all work well together. Some of them I know from other places. What I like about it here is everybody supports everybody.”
If an issue comes up with fetal heart rate, three nurses respond immediately.
“It’s very much like Ashley said, a family,” she said.
Garrison said she is always excited when she knows her daughter will be working her same shift. But every time they work together they are busy.
“And we really never get to talk,” Garrison said. “It’s really like we’re in passing.”
Caldwell said they always have a fun story to tell their patients about working as mother and daughter.