Monday, September 30, 2013

workin' girl

I realized the other day that I've never actually written about my job on the blog. This is probably because a 2-4 hour per week commitment can hardly be called a job, but it's still something I've been doing for a little over a year.

I got an email about a year and a half ago from a guy in our ward who works in the Psychiatry Department at Stanford. He said that one of his coworkers was going to be running an NIH-funded study on insomnia in pregnancy and needed nurses for it, preferably ones who were passable in Spanish. The time commitment was minimal and the experience looked interesting, so I applied and was hired.

Most pregnant women think that insomnia is just part of the deal, so they don't go out looking for a sleep therapist. And obviously sleep disturbances during pregnancy are expected. There are always going to be wakings caused by heartburn, discomfort, the baby kicking, frequent bathroom trips, etc. The problem, though, is when a woman gets up to go to the bathroom at 2 AM and it takes her three hours to fall back to sleep. Or when a woman lies down to go to bed, and can't shut off her brain for two hours. That's not normal or healthy. Our study is aimed at figuring out a few things:

-If nurses are trained to administer therapy to pregnant insomniacs, would more pregnant women seek help? Nurses are pretty conveniently located for pregnant women to have access to, unlike a sleep therapist who has to be sought out.
-What kind of therapy is most effective for pregnant women?

Since I am a nurse therapist in this study and not actually running the study, I have to be blinded to some of the other aspects of the study. I don't even know what the other treatment type is, and I'm not allowed to talk about the kind of treatment I administer, especially with others involved in the study. But the training that I have gone through and the therapy that I give is fascinating to me, and seeing changes in our patients is very rewarding. It's also the best of both worlds to have my toe in nursing and to spend a few hours a week feeling like a competent adult who is using her hard-earned degree, while getting to be a stay-at-home-mom 99% of the time.

We have one conference call a week (which I take from home) where our training is tweaked and honed, and then I will often have one session with a patient a week. This ends up only being a couple of hours at the hospital. I'm able to do child swaps with some friends, so it works out well with T.

Since the hours are so few, this job isn't a big moneymaker, but the experience I'm getting is fabulous, and working at Stanford is an honor. Not to mention, I've learned things that most certainly would have helped with my [absolutely horrible] sleep issues when I was pregnant with T, that will hopefully be beneficial in the future.


Amy Rose said...

hmm, based on your description of what is not normal, I'm thinking I might have some pregnancy insomnia! I always lie awake for a couple of hours at night before I fall asleep, usually because my back is hurting too much to sleep, but sometimes my back is fine and I just can't sleep because of what you said about not being able to shut my mind off. Any tips you could give me that are more public knowledge?

Saskia said...

That Stanford logo is pretty cool right there.

Sarah said...

Awesome! I would love to hear the findings when it becomes available. I really struggled with insomnia with all 3 pregnancies and would love to know of a treatment! And that's great you're able to have that opportunity. Way to go Mama!

Michelle Collett said...

Oh, I hope you can help Amy! That would be wonderful.

Also that is SO cool to have something that works out so ideally. I love staying at home with my kids, but if I could find something like that just a few hours a week that would be rewarding and keep my brain running along the lines of editing and language that would be fabulous.

And I know it's not the point, but you look super cute in your uniform. I still can't get over your short hair. I know I should by now, but it still seems new to me!

t.t.turner said...

I love you. That is all.

Anonymous said...

I need a session! I can never sleep when I am pregnant.