BRYAN, Texas — The Texas A&M School of Nursing is showcasing how its program to help first-time moms in the Brazos Valley is already making an impact after being open for less than a year.
Lucy Benitez is a student at Texas A&M who found out she was pregnant right before going into her senior year.
“I was kind of nervous about school and handling everything as a first-time mom,” said Lucy Benitez, first client of Family Nurse Partnership. “I reached out and it was the best decision I ever made.”
Megan Wheeler was one of the first nurses part of the nurse family partnership program when it started back in November.
She's already had the opportunity to help numerous new mothers.
“I started in November so since December, I’ve had 20 different patients,” said Megan Wheeler, Texas A&M College of Nursing. “In just the last month, we’ve had a baby boom so I’ve had nine babies born in the last couple of months.”
Benitez says having her nurse come to her house through her entire pregnancy made all the difference in learning motherhood.
“When she was born, she would come every week,” said Benitez. “So once a week for six weeks and then after for two weeks. It was really helpful because as a first-time mom, you don’t know what you’re doing. I had no idea what I was doing.”
Alyssa Akomer is a nursing student at Texas A&M and says working with the Nurse-Family Partnership inspires her to go into pediatrics once she graduates in December.
“I think my favorite part is the relationship that these home health nurses are building with the moms and their babies,” said Alyssa Akomer, Nursing student, Texas A&M College of Nursing. “I think that the only way to really progress communities and neighborhoods is through moms.”
Benitez says she had given birth just a week before finals and received an outpour of support from her professors.
“I went back for my finals because it was finals week when I had my baby,” said Benitez. “I took her with me and my professors were really happy. My TAs took care of her while I took my final and it worked out great.”
Wheeler says she enjoys being able to support first-time moms.
“I visit first-time moms,” said Wheeler. “We usually go to their homes and we see them a couple of times a month. We do a lot of education, teaching parental skills, making sure they have a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby, and feel confident as moms.”
Akomer is completing her clinicals and has enjoyed watching the program come together.
“This summer, I’m in my pediatrics course and one of my off-site clinicals was partnered with the nurse family partnership,” said Akomer. “So last week I got to meet everyone on the team and kind of work on all the back end stuff of the nurse family partnership and it was so impactful.”
As Akomer prepares for graduation this Fall, she hopes she gets the opportunity to work with this program again.
“The nurse-family partnership is amazing,” said Akomer. “I wish I could be with them all the time. I’m thinking in the fall, hopefully, there’s another course where we could partner together again with the students and the program and I would love to be able to do that again and maybe start going on home health visits.”
Initially, the program aimed to help moms solely in the Brazos Valley. After numerous recommendations, the Nurse-Family Partnership now serves all seven counties in the Brazos Valley, helping over 40 families as they journey through motherhood.