Jacob Eddington is the first and only male nurse hired to the labor and delivery ward at Ascension St. Vincent Women’s Hospital in Indianapolis, Ind. It’s a title he wears with pride. Eddington works with around 90 other nurses, and they all say having him around has made a big difference. Some of his coworkers even asked him to help deliver their own babies when they gave birth.
“He is adored,” said Kari Jones, who is a nurse manager. “He is appreciated. He is well-respected, and that happened quickly for him.”
He’s only been working at the hospital for two years, but he’s already been nominated for five DAISY Awards for going above and beyond the demands of the job.
Registered Nurse Audrianna De Leon trained Eddington when he got hired and then asked him to help deliver her baby Sofia just two months later.
“He took care of me,” De Leon said. “He stayed late for me, went home, and came in the next day when he wasn’t scheduled to deliver my baby. He is so good, and he embodies everything a labor and delivery nurse is.”
Eddington thinks it’s important to have a male presence in the labor and delivery ward even though many patients mistake him for a doctor due to gender bias.
“I think some women are going to have some reservations about having a male nurse because they are like, ‘What can he know about labor and delivery?'” Eddington said. “I think when you show compassionate care and try to bond with your patient, they learn to trust you and trust your opinions about things, too.”
His colleagues praised his gentle approach, which is key to building trust.
“You have to build a lot of trust in labor and delivery,” Eddington said, “because you are seeing moms at the most vulnerable moment in their lives. They have to just trust you.”
“It transcends gender,” Jones said, “because he is able to form a connection, and they trust him, and they rely on him, and he is just able to form that connection.”
The number of men in the nursing industry has increased over the years but they still only make up around 10% of the overall workforce.
“We’re starting to see more and more males,” said Jones, “which is awesome.” She added that men can provide a different perspective when it comes to raising and delivering children. “We really just work together,” she explained, “and are constantly looking to improve what we do here.”
Eddington is excited to break through stereotypes that can prevent some men from entering the field.
“Obviously, I don’t know exactly what you’re going through,” said Eddington of his patients, “because I am not a woman. I’ve never been pregnant. I can never be pregnant, but I am here to support you and your decisions and everything.”
But he can still be there for them in their moment of need. Cancer nurses don’t have to have cancer to do their jobs.
“You are seeing these people go through this amazing moment in their lives and I think that’s what’s keeping me coming back every day,” said Eddington. “I just love delivering babies.”