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Teen mothers in Canada lack compassionate care because of the many assumptions that work against them, such as they are incapable of raising a child due to their age, the belief that early childbearing results in financial consequences, and the presumption that teen mothers are a cost to the public. Lee SmithBattle is a registered nurse who amplified the detrimental result of the existing assumptions that have harshly impacted adolescent mothers in the public eye. Current research involving the role adolescent mothers play in society has limita-tions because many of the case studies used to defend arguments, such as the financial disadvan-tage young lower class mothers face, are in fact being compared to older mothers from different economic backgrounds.
This kind of inaccurate fieldwork leads to the use of unsupportive facts that taint the ideology of adolescent mothers rather than recognizing the inad-equacy present in our social resources. By re-establishing our relationship with teen mothers, overcoming the flaws in our healthcare system, and enhancing community ties for young moth-ers, nurses can critically analyze the lack of accuracy in current practice in this specific niche and use accurate information to tailor their care for an empowering patient interaction free of preju-dice. Based on Lee’s research, she proposed three changes that needed to be made to enhance the future of nursing care for these young women. These changes included creating higher quali-ty relationships with teens, redesigning healthcare, and building the network of relationships among communities. Considering that the majority of the public views early childbearing in such a negative light, the change to renew relationships with adolescent mothers is needed. When the change of perspective is made, it can be further understood that a teenager’s parenting style is influenced by different types of family variations rather than it being a personal choice. For in-stance, in some situations family members of the teen mom take over complete care of the infant, never allowing maternal skills to develop. Parenting is modified and filtered by previous family norms and only leads to a mother’s lack of maternal skills when she comes from a family that lacked positive parenting and possibly undermined her caregiving practices. Teens were more successful as mothers when they were provided with positive social relationships to guide them. Healthcare needs to be redesigned because it does not emphasize the different needs in teaching and care for adolescent mothers and their infants. The short hospital stays work against both nurses and patients; classes are focused from a middle class standard and typical hospital poli-cies. Therefore making it possible for important information to be missed and the concerns of a teen mom left unanswered. Considering their developmental age, teen moms will have different concerns than older moms, such as continuing education while caring for an infant. Teens have admitted to feeling more empowered when their struggles and efforts are being recognized by others and the healthcare system can play a significant role if done right.
The continuation of society’s negligent attitudes towards teen moms continues to discourage them from reaching their full potential. Building a network of relationships among communities can enable society to function more effectively. Parenthood in general requires what SmithBattle would call social capital, that involves access to community networks and resources such as day-care, and supportive housing. If teen mothers are provided with appropriate opportunities they can use these social resources to become good mothers and achieve education and career aspects. Nurses have the opportunity to positively influence a teen’s transition to motherhood.
Healthcare can advance if nurses strive for care that does not involve age discrimination. It has been reported that clinicians talk to the mothers of these teens regarding their health, com-pletely ignoring the adolescent, while some have even refused to administer epidurals when asked to do so. This automatically strips away a teens feeling of autonomy in making decisions of her healthcare. The nurse’s role is to recognize possible existing bias in their setting and within themselves. Once biases are removed, patients will feel safer expressing themselves leading to the build of trust in the relationship. This cannot be achieved if nurses con-tinue to work under the stigma that early childbearing will have a negative outcome. Through education this stigma can be eliminated. Nurses would not only strengthen the relationship with young mothers, but this education can be shared amongst colleagues in hopes of avoiding dis-criminatory care. Nurses must also fulfill their role as advocates for patients, and share the need to implement specialized programs for teen mothers in healthcare institutions. Programs such as the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative program met their objective to enhance breastfeeding over bottle-feeding and statistics increased to 77% of mothers choosing to breastfeed. This evidence of increased breast-feeding proves that the quality of health can be enhanced with tailored care. The Minnesota Vis-iting Nurse Agency (MVNA) focuses on four pillars: the nurse-patient relationship, schooling and future planning, mental and maternal health, and community support. They provide home visits from pregnancy to the time the child turns two, and it has been proven to help mothers with active enrolment in school, maternal infant bonding, and the use of community resources.
If nurses emphasized the importance of programs needed in hospitals to help teen mothers, this would ease teens transition into motherhood and provide them with specific social supports they could use to attain education after the birth of their children, ultimately guiding them to become competent mothers. Theorist Jean Watson cre-ated a foundation of human caring principles that can be applied to make such actions possible. In order to achieve practice that is free of any form of discrimination, Jean Watson’s sev-enth caritas can be applied. This involves a genuine teaching-learning experience that attends to the needs of patients whilst trying to stay in their point of reference. When nurses apply this to their care they are able to discuss the concerns of young mothers with moral well being present. It allows not only for patients to learn from the nurse, but also for the nurse to learn from the pa-tient as well. When nurses show genuine care and engagement, this strengthens the relationship between healthcare provider and patient. This kind of environment allows for the patients to share their insecurities regarding the new changes they will face as a mother, such as changes to their body. Rather than this regard being seen as a selfish and immature concern, the nurse will handle it as a learning opportunity and understand that many mothers fear this change with preg-nancy, not just younger mothers. It is the nurse’s job to evaluate concerns and help develop ques-tions with the teen because many teenagers are unaware of what they should know or ask. Achieving this form of harmony allows for the adolescent to feel active and educated in the care plan.
The majority of negative outcomes teen mothers face are a mere reflection of poor quality in social resources and negative relationships with society. It is an impediment to healthcare pro-gression that these presumptions have attained what SmithBattle considers “cultural blindness” in clinical care. Rebuilding the relationships with teen mothers, redesigning healthcare and en-hancing social capital will improve the overall success of young mothers.
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