Nurse Midwife’s Journey to a Doctorate Degree

Honesdale, PA (September 12, 2019)—It wasn’t just the impressive results of Certified Nurse Midwife Christina MacDowell’s quality improvement project that kept the audience on edge in a “virtual classroom” at the Stourbridge Complex in Honesdale on August 29th. It was the declaration by Frontier Nursing University Faculty Advisor Christopher Kennedy, DNP, FNP-BC, CNP that upon completion of this assignment, MacDowell’s18-month journey towards achieving a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree would be realized.  And when, at the conclusion of her presentation, Kennedy announced that MacDowell had indeed earned her degree, it brought down the house for her coworkers and classmates.  A few even shed tears.

MacDowell herself turned the accolades back to those who had helped and encouraged her from day one.

“I have to thank everyone from my Wayne Memorial Family who helped me achieve this goal,” stated MacDowell. “From the time I was a pinned as a member of the first graduating class of the Luzerne County Community College’s School of Nursing at the hospital, through becoming a nurse midwife—up to now–I couldn’t have done it without your support.”

MacDowell’s 90-day project entitled, “Improving Timely Access to Care at a Rural Federally Quality Health Center” was implemented at the Women’s Health Center, part of Wayne Memorial Community Health Centers (WMCHC). The focus was cast on two major areas in need of improvement – lessening the average 20-day wait for patients to be seen by a provider and decreasing the nearly 35 percent  “no show” patients the practice was experiencing. Through team building and communication strategies including daily staff huddles, personal reminder phone calls of scheduled appointments and a fast track communication tool called a “patient passport,” significant changes were measured. Data showed that 67 percent of patients requesting an appointment were seen within 7 days — a significant amount of those being same day. Additionally, the staggering 35 percent “no show” rate dwindled to 13 percent.

After seeing the data and discussing mechanisms put in place at the Women’s Health Center based on the initiative, WMCHC Executive Director Frederick Jackson said some of WMCHC’s Primary Care offices would consider utilizing similar approaches within their practices.

“Congratulations, Christina,” said Jackson, “well done!”

MacDowell served as a Registered Nurse at Wayne Memorial Hospital’s New Beginnings Birthing Suites for nearly five years before becoming a Certified Nurse Midwife for the Women’s Health Center in 2017. She resides in Honesdale with her husband Shawn and their five children.