Doula Who is a Registered Nurse: FAQ

Can you be my nurse and my doula?

No. As your doula, I will not act as your nurse. I will provide doula care, not medical care. There are some things about the two career paths that do merge, such as providing emotional support, education, and comfort measures. As a paid and contracted doula it would be out of my scope of practice to utilize clinical skills such as monitoring vitals, doing vaginal exams, or checking fetal heart tones.


I know of another doula who is a registered nurse and says that they will perform clinical tasks.

Other doulas who operate in this duel capacity are probably doing one of two things.
1. They most likely are operating out of their scope of practice as a doula, if you have signed a contract for them to act as a doula and not as a clinical professional.
2. They could be working as a “birth assistant” or a “montrice” or even a “Doula-RN,” which is NOT a doula by definition.

These other roles require a completely different type of training and career path than a doula. They require attention to be shifted away from the mother in order to perform clinical tasks. If this is what you are hoping to gain from hiring a doula with a nursing background, I am not the doula for you. I have chosen to focus my energy on the mother and to provide constant support, rather than spending my time monitoring and charting.

 FAQ for a doula who is a registered nurse

How is your RN degree relevant if you cannot utilize clinical skills?

As a doula who is a registered nurse, I offer a wealth of clinical knowledge. Although it is not my role to give medical advice, I am capable to providing education grounded in research. This allows mothers and partners to make the informed decisions that work best for them. Working in a hospital for many years has given me a better understanding of hospital policies and how to create a rapport with the medical members of your birth team. I have hands on experience advocating for my patients while working in the hospital. As a doula I will not speak on your behalf. Instead I will draw from this experience to empower you and your partner to advocate for your needs.

Specializing in psychiatry has given me skills that are invaluable as a doula. My career is built on providing emotional support, coping skills, and evidenced based education- not just clinical skills. I have acquired advanced knowledge about relaxation techniques long before the start of my doula journey. Rather than spending my days doing physical exams and medical interventions, most of my nursing experience revolves around reassuring, validating, and supporting people during their deepest emotional journeys. Sounds a lot like pregnancy, labor, and birth, doesn’t it?


Why include your RN credentials if you are acting only as my doula?

I am a doula who is a registered nurse. I have worked hard to earn my degree, maintain my licensure, and hone my abilities. It is important that my clients know my educational and professional background and its relevance to my doula care. Many of the tools I have gained during my experience as an registered nurse will benefit my mothers and their families, even if I do not perform clinical tasks. Clients can feel comfortable knowing I chose my psychiatric specialty based on my own desire to be with patients emotionally and not to be drained by tasks.

I am a doula, and an RN, and these are both of value to my clients. Mothers and their partners can feel at ease knowing that I have a generalized understanding of hospital procedures and policies. I have the unique insight of how a nurse or a healthcare professional might make decisions, what their expectations might be, and how we could work with them or navigate around them. As a nurse I can relate to the hospital staff in a way that a doula without this professional background could not.

With all your nursing knowledge, does that mean I have a better chance of getting the birth I want?

There is not guarantee that you will get the birth that you desire. Ever. By contacting a doula, you are taking the first step to decreasing the odds of many interventions and outcomes. My knowledge as a doula who is a registered nurse will be helpful in this path, but I cannot control the outcome of any birth. I will not make decisions for you. I cannot make decisions for the medical team. I am unable to prevent or predict a variety of medical conditions that will lead to a high risk labor. I will do my best to utilize all of my experience and education to work with you and the health care team to achieve the birth you desire.


What would you do in the case of a medical emergency?

The first thing I would do in an emergency, outside of the hospital*, would be to call 911. Although I have been BLS certified for over 12 years, I have had the good fortune of not once having to utilize these skills outside of training. During an emergency, outside of the hospital*, I will act in my fullest capacity until assistance arrives. In accordance with the Good Samaritan Act, I am not civilly liable for any act/omission in giving assistance or medical care as long as the act/omission is not one of gross negligence. Again, my professional and clinical background has focused very little on the medical skills of nursing. This is not where I am an asset to you. In the event of an emergency, I will utilize what limited medical skills I can until more highly trained assistance arrive. *If the emergency should occur in the hospital I will stand back and allow hospital staff to assist. I will continue to provide emotional support as long as it does not interfere with the mother/baby receiving emergent medical care.

Think I might be the right doula for you? Find out more about me.