"Ask me for strength and I will lend not only my hand, but also my heart."
~ Unknown

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On Ethics - Part 2 ~ Our Business Practices & Values

Today we would like to discuss some of our business practices and why we've chosen to conduct things the way we do.  It is important to us that we remain open with you, our clients and community members, and that you feel you can trust us.
  1. All of our doulas are trained.  Michelle is certified. Sherel and Kaitlin are actively pursuing certification.  This means they are not yet certified, but are working toward that goal through continuous study and practical experience.
    • Each of us has attended training workshops and/or received education through a recognized certifying body.  
      • Michelle received her initial training through DONA International in 2008 at a workshop held by a certified doula and doula trainer.  Michelle continued her education through Childbirth International and has certified as a birth doula through the organization. (2012)
        • Michelle has also attended a variety of professional workshops and participated in conferences for birth professionals.  Documentation is available for reference.
      • Sherel has completed her first year of midwifery education through Midwives College of Utah.  This qualifies her to serve as a midwife's assistant.  She is also a birth doula student through Birth Arts International and will also be certified this year. 
        • Sherel has also attended professional workshops in addition to academics.  Documentation is available.
      • Kaitlin attended a DONA International training workshop in Spring 2011 and is actively pursuing certification through DONA and Birth Arts International.  
  2. Certification takes time.
    • We are all mothers.  Our families must come first.  Caring for our children takes up much of our time and we are proud of that fact.  We also maintain households and need to nurture family relationships.  
    • No one training program is exactly the same.
      • Training may consist of: a 3-day workshop, followed by required reading, a minimum number of births to attend, compilation of a resource list, audit of childbirth classes, and essay writing. (See DONA or CAPPA)
      • Training may consist of: intensive academic coursework consisting of psychology, communication skills, anatomy and physiology, business practices, ethics, etc. as well as all of the above.   This may or may not include a 3-day workshop. (See Childbirth International  or Birth Arts International.)
  3. We charge for our services.
    • During our training as doulas, we were taught to charge for our services even before we were certified for a variety of reasons.
      • We incur expenses such as childcare, transportation, food, supplies, etc.
      • We spend a lot of time with our clients, meeting once a month during pregnancy and at least 2-4 times during the postpartum period.  
      • We are providing a valuable service.
      • We provide service as volunteers, but we also are a registered business.
  4. We are a registered business in the Province of Alberta, as well as in Medicine Hat and surrounding area.  We maintain a business license for Medicine Hat as well as one for businesses with offices or practice areas outside of Medicine Hat.  This documentation is available for reference.
  5. We refer to other doulas in our area and related professionals and maintain a listing of qualified professionals without prejudice.
  6. We believe every family has the right to choose a support person who is right for their family and we respect their decisions.  Education, qualifications, personality, comfort level, and values are all very important aspects of that decision.  We strive to be forthright in all of our interactions with potential clients.
  7. Education is important to us.  We surround ourselves with the resources necessary to stay up-to-date on evidence-based practices in birth care. 
  8. We are not medical professionals and do not portray ourselves as such nor shall we ever act in that capacity as birth doulas.
  9. Our practice believes every family deserves the support of a doula that they are comfortable with and are able to cultivate a relationship of trust with.  If we are not a good fit, we gladly refer to our fellow doulas in the community.  
  10. We strive to maintain open, professional relationships with our colleagues.  It is our wish and our hope that families in our community feel well supported, informed and cared for by all members of the birthing team.

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