Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Tips for Pumping While Working in the Emergency Department

This post is a bit different than the typical evidence-based post. Rather than a post on how to take care of patients, it's a compilation of tips for expressing breastmilk while working in the Emergency Department

Why is this important?

This is an important issue for everyone, not just women and not only those who are breastfeeding. 
There are tangible ways everyone can contribute to a supportive atmosphere. This includes being supportive of colleagues and reaching out to those who are returning from leave. If your colleagues don't have a place to pump, join them in advocating for a space (by the way, a bathroom is NOT an appropriate place to pump). Know that residents may be especially reticent to ask for time to pump due to being perceived as "weak" or "lazy." 
Pumping on shift can be stressful and come with guilt for stepping away from immediate patient care. There are things that you can do to minimize the time away. 

 Pumping in the car (or on a commute) can be a game changer to ensure you start the shift at time 0, effectively resetting the clock until your next pump.

Pumping on a single coverage shift may seem impossible but it is do-able. One of the most important things is discussing this with your team. Some techs and RNs may feel comfortable coming to you with ECGs or patient updates while pumping, others may prefer to call. Establish a game plan ahead of time.

Know that being able to pump at work is a legal right in the United States and that the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) released a statement in 2013 supporting workplace support for lactating clinicians. 

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