Geri Narsete-Prevo has made a career out of helping women give birth. She was recently honored with the 2022 Magnet Nurse of the Year award in the Transformational Leadership category. The award was presented by the American Nurses Credentialing Center during a ceremony in October.
Narsete-Prevo was among a handful of nurses who were recognized for their work worldwide. She works as a labor and delivery nurse at RUSH Hospital in Chicago and has chaired the unit’s Partum Hemorrhage Committee since 2008. The group regularly discusses how to best care for a patient who is hemorrhaging during childbirth. According to the latest statistics, this condition is the leading cause of death during childbirth, resulting in over 860 cases in 2020 alone. And the condition disproportionately affects women of color.
Medical directors at RUSH say Narsete-Prevo’s impact has been profound. No one has died of obstetric hemorrhaging in the labor and delivery unit since 2014 and the number of patients that needed to be transferred to the ICU due to hemorrhaging has dramatically decreased. She has been instrumental in helping staff better care for patients who are losing large amounts of blood.
“Because of Geri’s passion to educate our teams on how to manage blood loss during childbirth, we have made a tremendous impact on patient safety,” said Melissa Browning, director of Professional Nursing Practice and the Magnet Program at the medical center.
“I felt appreciated. This project has been 14 years in the making, and it was nice to have the work recognized,” Narsete-Prevo said during the ceremony. She also gave a shout-out to her fellow labor and delivery nurses, including Marianne Corrieri-Alaniz, RN, and Tiajuana Tubbs, RN, for their work on the committee.
Denise Banton, unit director of the medical center’s antepartum, labor and delivery and postpartum units, said the hospital chose Narsete-Preveo to lead the hospital’s Obstetric Hemorrhage Education Project, which is a part of the Illinois Department of Public Health’s mission to address the “astounding rate” of maternal hemorrhages.
“Compared to other countries, the United States has one of the highest rates of maternal morbidity and mortality,” said Banton. “A number of causes contribute to this maternal morbidity and mortality, and one of them is hemorrhage, which requires a concerted effort and prompt recognition and treatment. It was important that we find a champion for this project. Geri has always had a passion and love for our more complicated and high-risk patients, and we thought she would be a great fit for it.”
The hospital ended up creating “swim lanes,” clearly defined roles for nurses to perform in the event of a hemorrhaging patient. The effort is designed to coordinate the nurses’ efforts while minimizing the potential blood loss.
“It’s very challenging. There’s a lot of emergencies. You have to be prepared for everything and anything,” she says. “You have to like action. It’s very fast-paced. You have to think and learn on your feet, and from each other.”
Narsete-Prevo has treated more than her fair share of hemorrhaging patients. She once saved the life of a woman who lost 11 liters of blood, more than twice the five liters found in the human body. The patient needed 125 units of transfused blood to survive.
“With that particular patient, we needed lift equipment and a special bed and wheelchair,” Narsete-Prevo says. “We had 34 people in the operating room.”
She and her colleagues are dealing with higher-risk pregnancies now that more women are choosing to have their babies later in life.
“When we have patients who are out of the ordinary, we create care plans and have to be prepared to meet their needs,” Narsete-Prevo added. “Labor and delivery, anesthesia, the medical intensive care unit, neonatal intensive care unit and mother baby unit, we all work together as a team to assure patient safety and quality of care.”
Banton said Narsete-Prevo is constantly improving the quality of care patients receive by updating the hemorrhaging plan.
“As time goes on, there’s always things that come up in obstetrics that require addressing and intense management of care,” Banton explained. “Geri’s always gravitated to those kinds of patients. She can take care of any patient, a normal, healthy patient, but she is inquisitive and strong in her knowledge and has a love of working for patients who require intensive care.”