Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses

#53 You Matter: Examining the Resources, Education, and Support Nurses Need to Thrive with Jonathan Webb, CEO of AWHONN

November 20, 2023 Bundle Birth, A Nursing Corporation Season 3 Episode 53
Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses
#53 You Matter: Examining the Resources, Education, and Support Nurses Need to Thrive with Jonathan Webb, CEO of AWHONN
Show Notes Transcript

In this episode of Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses, Justine and Sarah interview Jonathan Webb, the Chief Executive Officer of AWHONN (Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses). They discuss the role of nurses in making a meaningful impact on women, birthing people, and the world. They explore the resources, education, and support AWHONN for nurses to live their best lives. They also talk about the importance of networking and collaboration in the nursing profession, and how AWHONN aims to bring about real change in areas such as equitable health outcomes, nurse compensation, workplace violence, and more. Jonathan emphasizes the value of diversity and cultural awareness in nursing, and the need to support nurses at every stage of their career. He invites nurses to get involved with AWHONN through their website or by contacting him directly. Thanks for listening & subscribing!

Helpful Links:
- Learn more about  AWHONN (Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses).  Use referral code 44264181, and tell them Justine from Bundle Birth sent you.
- Meet Jonathan Webb, CEO of AWHONN
- Contact Jonathan Webb  
- Find the support you need in our 12-month Nurse Mentorship Program
- Enroll in our 1-time-only, Live Online Physiologic Coping Class

Justine:
Hi, I am Justine.

Sarah Lavonne:
And I'm Sarah Lavonne.

Justine:
And we are so glad you're here.

Sarah Lavonne:
We believe that your life has the potential to make a deep, meaningful impact on the world around you. You as a nurse have the ability to add value to every single person and patient you touch.

Justine:
We want to inspire you with resources, education, and stories to support you to live your absolute best life, both in and outside of work.

Sarah Lavonne:
But don't expect perfection over here. We're just here to have some conversations about anything, birth, work, and life, trying to add some happy to your hour as we all grow together.

Justine:
By nurses, for nurses, this is Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses.

Sarah Lavonne:
This interview is a long time coming. I am super excited to have Jonathan Webb here from AWHONN. Finally, we get AWHONN on a call and get to talk all things about AWHONN. We want you as nurses to understand what AWHONN is. We talk about it a lot. We reference AWHONN resources all the time, and this is something for me that is a foundational sort of expectation for us as nurses, that not only we know what it is, but we're also involved in one way or another. So I want to welcome you, Jonathan, to this call, and we're just going to talk through all things your job. I also have some sneaky questions for you because CEO to CEO, I'm like, wait, teach me something. Help.

Jonathan Webb:
Well, thank you so much for having me. I'm really looking forward to the conversation today. Be gentle in the sneaky questions.

Sarah Lavonne:
They'll be very simple, don't even worry. So just tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you? What's your role at AWHONN? And then that will probably lead into what is AWHONN in general. So pretend like we don't know anything. I'm a new nurse. I literally am like, wait, labor and delivery. What do they need to know?

Jonathan Webb:
Yeah, so I'm Jonathan Webb. I am the Chief Executive Officer for AWHONN, the Association of Women's Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. I consider myself to be the chief facilitator because I am working with our members both external and internal because I consider our staff to be our internal team members to try to facilitate change within the organization, but more so within the industry and how care is delivered. So I'm excited about the role I have in that I am a father, a husband, a son. I have been in the public health space for 20 plus years now, working on issues of equity and dealing with some of the major disease states. Trying to always center the patient or community voice in discussions and build towards not just programs, but system change. One of the things I think that's interesting about my background that most folks don't know, if you're from Philadelphia, you kind of wear it on your chest.

So I'm from Philly, west Philadelphia, but what most folks don't also know is that I split time between urban west Philadelphia and rural Pennsylvania when I was growing up. So some of my neighbors were Amish, and what that means for me is that I was able to engage Monday through Friday in urban environment with folks with shared experiences and then spent time with some good friends on weekends because of my family dynamic with folks that didn't have the same experiences. And it gave me an appreciation for the commonality that we have and just the desire to elevate the voices of all the groups I'm able to connect with.

Sarah Lavonne:
Well, here's my first sneaky question. This is totally not where we were going with it, but I'm curious to know what were some of the commonalities that you saw? And I think especially on a global or grander scale, a lot of times you can take a urban community, an Amish community, and those are from an outsider's perspective, real opposite. I remember some of the first times I traveled overseas, I remember being like, what am I going to have in common? And sure enough, you find very quickly that we're all human, right? But I'd love to know what your perspective was between those two communities. What were some of the commonalities that you saw and noticed?

Jonathan Webb:
Well, I think one of the spaces you started to touch base on, I think that we are all interested and desirous of putting ourselves and our family members in the best possible position. So I think from a values perspective, from a human standpoint, we all want to be loved, we all want to be seen, we all want to be supported, we all want to be valued. I think we all generally lead with the same sort of heart and desire to help those around us. I think community was really important in those rural spaces. Community was a solid value system, value foundation. Likewise, in urban settings, we had villages that were these urban villages, these communities that were supportive of your growth and development in the same way. So I think community was really central to the value system in the urban community as well.

I think some of the challenges were the same as well, access to care growing up in that environment that were also issues that people were having from an economical standpoint, the challenges... The details may be different, but trying to make ends meet in an urban environment and trying to make ends meet in a rural environment. Some of the details might be different, but it's important. There's also a challenge as well. So I think that was an issue. 

The commonality between some of the systems and infrastructures that weren't necessarily in place to serve them. Even though you may be in a rural environment where a hospital is X, Y, Z miles away closer than you might be in a rural community where you got to drive 40 miles or 40 minutes to get care. The access barriers were similar but different for a number of reasons. So those types of common threads I saw across those communities, there's a lot more I can say, but there was the common elements around challenges, but the desire to be healthy, to be seen, to be loved, and to do what's best for your family.

Sarah Lavonne:
I love that. Well, and as you were a bridge between the two, I relate personally because I grew up in two cultures as well. I was born in Minnesota. You can imagine that's its own land. And then I grew up also in Ecuador in South America. So I love that we have that shared thing in common of being able to see different people groups and realize those commonalities and those differences and really learn from that. So you grew up in this two cultures and learning from both and experiencing both, and then you worked in public health in various forms. That's probably an understatement. And then how did you get to AWHONN and why AWHONN?

Jonathan Webb:
A great question. So my public health background and experience has varied across a couple of different areas. So actually started as an epidemiologist for local government. Statistics and loved epidemiology, but was really excited about getting more on the programmatic side and impacting some of those kinds of dynamics with program perspective. So I led community health divisions. They had the programmatic side pretty much... Not an expert at it, but I was good at community program management. I also worked in advocacy, fundraising, did some strategic planning for local health departments, but then also the national nonprofits, I had a chance to then transition into. So I had this pretty eclectic and diverse professional background across all those sorts of specialty areas. But the common thread was always around communities, equitable care, public health, and trying to do my level best to support system change that were the people that was supposed to work for.

I worked in domestic and global settings, and from a public health standpoint, I've always believed that one of the most important investments we can make from a community perspective and from a national perspective is in moms and babies and our families, because that's our launching point, all of our development. So the last I would say 10 years or so was harder core maternal and child health. So I was doing that. I had the privilege of serving as a CEO for the Association of Maternal and Child Health programs prior to coming to AWHONN. And with that organization we were supporting the MCH directors, the maternal and child health directors at the state and territory level to identify innovative programming, do community assessments and needs assessments, support that work and the delivery of that work on the ground, and advocate for funding.

This opportunity with AWHONN, I saw as a chance to bring some of that higher level national, state legislative policy type of big P policy to support the bedside guideline policy development piece and be a bit of that, use the term bridge, be that bridge between healthcare and public health, which to me seems such a clear line or connection. But in some cases people look at as being opposites. Maybe opposite is too strong a word, but don't always see them as partners in bedfellows. This was part of my sort of approach to bridging that and being that connective tissue between public health and healthcare.

Sarah Lavonne:
So then first this is a yes or no question, because I have a follow-up question. So would you call AWHONN a public health organization?

Jonathan Webb:
That is a good one.

Sarah Lavonne:
It's not a yes or no question, I guess.

Jonathan Webb:
So I would say yes, it's more of a healthcare type organization, but I believe that most organizations are actually public health organizations because if you subscribe to the social determinants of health and understand the ways in which all of these other factors contribute to the public's health, I think for-profit companies that provide jobs are part of the public health community. I think housing organizations that provide homes about how people live and the environments they exist in, they're public health organizations. I believe that the criminal justice system and education, they're public health organization because they contribute. That's how I see us sort of as part of the tapestry woven together, hopefully all for the betterment of the public's health and wellbeing, if that makes sense.

Sarah Lavonne:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, and then I'm thinking are we a public health organization?

Jonathan Webb:
I would say yes.

Sarah Lavonne:
With that, I'm like, yeah, probably. I suppose.

Jonathan Webb:
If we're out here making money, building a widget or a project or product, if we're out here delivering a service, some other space, all of these things are for the betterment of our families, our communities, which connects back to the health of the individual and the health of those around us. So in some way, shape or form, we have an impact on the public's health.

Sarah Lavonne:
Absolutely. Well then, what in you would say you aren't a public health organization? So if there's a piece that's public health, but that's probably not the primary, what or how would you describe AWHONN outside of that?

Jonathan Webb:
Yeah, so I think from a traditional definition of a healthcare organization, I think that's where AWHONN sits. We are focusing more on the clinical education and advocacy. We are supporting the provision of care in the hospital settings. We're supporting educators as they provide knowledge to those folks who may be providing care at some point in their career. We're supporting those educators as they might be conducting research that feeds back into the larger industry's academic and knowledge base. So I think from a traditional definition, we are probably more aligned to a healthcare organization.

And if I had to, I think you were talking about how to define what AWHONN does or who we are, I would say that we are an organization and some of this is aspirational. I would say that we are an organization that wants to be here for the nurses who are serving moms, babies and birthing people, whether that's in the advancement of their career trajectories or in their provision of care to those communities and families that they serve. And we do that through generating and dissemination of guidelines through high quality education, through advocacy on behalf of you and your patients and communities. We also do that through trying to bring networks together and connect folks to mentors, connect folks to opportunities to grow in their careers, to grow as editors if they want to get to that publishing space. But we are here for you in that way as a professional membership organization.

Sarah Lavonne:
For anyone who missed out on Cancun, listen up because I have some very exciting news. For literally one time only. We are offering a two day physiologic coping workshop as a live online event on February 29th and March 1st, 2024. The class lasts nine hours total, and we'll split it into two days for you to make it super digestible, and it includes everything that we taught in Cancun. So that's a $900 value for just $299 prior to January 15th. This is a crazy deal. We also offer amazing group discounts for groups of 10 or more. So reach out and save even more by getting in with your friends and coworkers. Besides earning you a whopping 9.4 [inaudible 00:12:27]. You'll also learn everything you need to know about how to promote physiologic coping and physiologic birth, and positively interact with the diverse demographic of birthing people, that's epiduralized and non-epiduralized patients through non-pharmacological coping interventions that help contribute to a vaginal birth.

You'll also know exactly how that's possible. And don't worry if you can't attend some or all of the live sessions because we're going to record it for you to view for up to two weeks following the event. This can't miss event took me two years of reading more than 300 resources. I traveled the world. I trained with some of the leading minds in physiology and childbirth and other random specialties, and I even became an intermediate MFR practitioner so that I could create and whittle all of that down to one single easy to understand class that's applicable to your practice tomorrow. All of those who purchase tickets to the event will be entered for incredible prize giveaways that I will draw about each week leading up to the class, as well as a chance at an absolutely unprecedented grand prize that will seriously blow your mind.

You will not want to miss it, and I will draw the winner at the class. This is the biggest prize we have ever given away, and you don't want to miss your chance by missing the class. You literally have nothing to lose. We would love to have you. Register now to get in on this amazing one-time opportunity using the link in the show notes below or on the bundlebirthnurses.com website.

So I'm very much envisioning a new nurse. They walk into this birth world that is actually very small. It's huge, but it's also very small, and I think it's easy to think about, I am a nurse. I go to nursing school that supports me becoming a nurse. I go to a hospital system in a labor and delivery unit. I'm going to talk labor and delivery here. Let's be clear, it's the whole umbrella of prenatal. But for labor and delivery nurses, they walk into a unit and they go, I'm a part of the birth world because of my unit and if I wanted to be involved, if I wanted to learn more, if I wanted to grow my unit, provides some of that.

But then it's like the next layer outside of that to me would be your professional organizations, maybe some research organizations, and that AWHONN does as well. It's one of my favorite parts. There's this added out of the hospital support layer and that provides help setting guidelines, et cetera. And then there's the community level. I think we all don't think we're a part of community health, but especially I would love for us to talk more about this outside of a different episode as nurses of what does it mean to be a part of the community? What does it mean to be a part of public health? Technically, I have my public health nurse license and I don't totally know what I'm doing with that. I'm doing a lot. I know I'm doing a lot especially on the childbirth education side of things, but there's this added layer of community and legislative support and that all sort of encircles the birthing world.

I would love for all of us to sort of see it in this lens that you have your hospital, but you also have these outward layers of support to the profession that are not so hospital-based. With that being said, new nurse comes in, they're like, ooh, my unit, and they can barely know where they are and it's totally overwhelming and awful. But now I'm out of that season, let's say, and I'm looking to grow. I'm looking to expand my brain and get better. Obviously there's bundle birth, but also how would AWHONN fit in that? I see these layers of circles. What does AWHONN do for nurses? And speak specifically to me. I'm a new nurse. I just got my head on straight and I'm feeling like, okay, what's next?

Jonathan Webb:
Yeah, so I think there's a lot in there. First I would say that your description of the role that nurses play, even when they're in those systems into the larger provision of care, I think is spot on because you're familiar with the research that talks about 20% of the person's potential outcome being related to clinical support, but 80% of it being outside of the space. So how are we getting into those communities and connecting and understanding? Yes, you might have access to quality care, but what sort of environmental factors, generational factors, those kinds of pieces? And I think the beauty of the nursing industry is that nurses are so compassionate and so willing to roll up their sleeves and have the heart.

There's always the time, but they have the heart to try to dig in and try to figure out how to help individuals and families problem solve. I can share a little bit of a story later in the line about just my personal experiences, but nurses have been always willing to get engaged and help to troubleshoot and put you in your best possible position, which I think is unique in the healthcare space. So I love that framing.

In terms of the opportunities that a new nurse has coming into AWHONN, I think there are several. So there's some happening at the state, the section and chapter level and some at the national level. So from a state and the section and chapter level, there's an opportunity to get involved with those sections and chapters who are doing education, who are providing meetings to help to build your educational depth. Our sections and chapters are really astute at what pulse of their areas are geographically. They're always nitty trying to meet that need through providing high quality education. I think those sections and chapters are also great places to start networking because being a new nurse in the space, I think having some wise counsel folks that are willing to sow into you, invest in you, invest in time, and help to connect you to people and navigate some of the challenges, I think is always valuable.

My wife is an attorney. We were going to one of her orientation sessions, one of her deans offered something. It's a phrase that stuck with me. You can network or not work. Even in that profession. So I've always adopted that because I think the networking helps you to get those connections, get those opportunities, iron sharpens iron type of approach. So I think we have those kinds of resources at the local level. At the national level, those ways to get plugged in as well. So with the sections and chapters being a sort of microcosm of what's happening on the national level, there's a chance for those nurses to get engaged with high quality education, have access to guidelines and resources because every step of your career there may be different challenges you're experiencing, different roles you're in.

So being able to refer to guidelines, provisional of clinical care, or maybe even some mentorship or support for what steps to take in your professional career, those are all things that will be available to a new nurse at that level. We also have products. One of the things I think is really important for us to talk about, we talk about now a lot, is that with current COVID and then post COVID environment where we have new nurses who are being thrust into situations that they aren't necessarily... Have not been fully prepped for just from where they were because now it's something that they may have taken 2, 3, 4 years to get the experience around something. Now in year two are being tossed into these new roles. We have some products and resources to help orient you to the neonatal environment and the prenatal environment. I know Bundle Birth has some great resources that are point in time opportunities for people to kind of quickly refer back to things that they might need, that they'd never seen before or want a refresher on.

So those are types of resources that are available for folks. I would be remiss if I didn't plug the national convention. It's a great opportunity for folks to come into a city that we're going to be in. Next year we'll be in Phoenix. You get a chance to connect with three to 4,000 of your closest friends. You get a chance to party, network, learn, and go through some simulations and things of that nature that helps to keep your skills sharp as a new nurse.

I would also just very quickly say, this is more the opportunity than new nurses have to contribute to the larger space too. But we do have opportunities for being a reviewer on different educational opportunities, for serving on committees, for getting involved in advocacy because the voice of the bedside nurse or the person, even if you're not a bedside nurse, but you have direct experience in a specific nursing space, legislators want to hear more from you than they want to hear from me and my team to come into their office every few weeks or so because your experience is more valuable. So lifting and lending that voice to that discussion helps to bring about some real change nationally and hopefully locally as well.

Sarah Lavonne:
Well, what I love about hearing all of this is I think it just expands our world a little bit more. Those layers of it's easy to just see your patient and then your unit and then, oh, I'm a part of a hospital and then oh, I'm a part of a network of a medical system. And then what's outside of that? And what I'm hearing is that if you're looking for ways to get involved, if you're looking for ways to do more, if you're looking for ways to grow professionally, I think there's the professional career path thing. As nurses, I know I've really broken out of the professional career path. This is never the plan.

Jonathan Webb:
Slightly different path.

Sarah Lavonne:
Slightly, just a little bit. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend it for anyone at this point. I do. I love my job and I'm so grateful, but this is not for everyone, and I know that. For everybody else that's not as crazy as me or really it's not crazy as naive as well, that there are other ways to contribute to the profession, to its growth, to your own learning, to the community of birthing professionals in various ways. And AWHONN is a really nice pathway in. I think I want to speak to the networking piece because I personally went to convention two years ago in Colorado, and I'm a people person. I love meeting people and I love like, ooh, let me get in and let me figure it out and let me learn and let me talk all night long. And I actually did that. I sat with multiple tables of nurses till 2, 3, 4 in the morning, both nights that we were there.

And I just feel like I took in so much, we connected and we have this common language, this common ground that's so important for networking of course. And actually I just hired someone that I met at AWHONN. There's that, but there's also the connection for AWHONN, New Hampshire. I'm going there, this is going to air after I go there next week and I'm speaking at a AWHONN conference. Speaking, I met someone from AWHONN, New Hampshire. And it's this world of networking that I think we don't get as nurses, we're not taught in nursing school that networking is a life skill that's really important.

And as a business person now, I'm like, oh, wow. Oh, I need to remember, especially as a CEO, this is my job. I need to know everyone. And luckily I'm the person that loves to know everyone. So that works out for me and I'm in a really good role in that way. But for nurses, it's like if you're wanting to be a part of the world of birth, not just your unit, AWHONN to me is a really incredible place to start and go to get involved, to be a part of that world in whatever your gifting is, outside of the traditional go to work, go home and be done hours.

Jonathan Webb:
That's right. You're a great connector. I've seen you at work.

Sarah Lavonne:
I've seen you at work too, so I feel like right back at you.

Jonathan Webb:
I'll take that. That's high phrase. The other part of the networking piece that I think is worth mentioning is that there are a few spaces, and this is not just in nursing, but we're talking about nursing now. I think you started to touch base on it. There are a few spaces where you can go and feel like everybody gets me, right?

Sarah Lavonne:
Yes.

Jonathan Webb:
When you're in your health system and you're maybe jockeying it for a position with physicians or other folks who you may be engaging with or you're trying to plead your case to someone on why you might need funding or support for this, or being able to be in spaces where people understand generally what it's like to walk in your shoes. So there's that, like you said, that shared language, that shared understanding. So what I've seen happen at those conventions, the national and the section chapter ones is that it feels like you're among family and friends. So you can kind of sit back and kick your feet up and spend some time just recharging, just feel like people get you.

When I've been at the section and the national level, when I've been at those meetings, people are able to let their hair down. There's an experienced common understanding. And as much as they're getting information and education and those resources, they need to go do what they do well. It also seems to me like they're getting fed in a different way emotionally, their batteries being recharged. I've seen at our president's party, nurses know how to have a good time.

Sarah Lavonne:
Oh, that's for sure. We learned that in Cancun.

Jonathan Webb:
Yes. So I don't think that should be underestimated in terms of the power of connection and networking as well.

Sarah Lavonne:
Yeah, for sure. So sort of changing gears here, I want to go back to you and your sort of career path and ending up here in association that is majority women and for families and birthing people, et cetera. As I was prepping for this interview, I was like, what do I want to ask him? So this is my personal question.

Jonathan Webb:
Oh, oh.

Sarah Lavonne:
No, it's good. So at Bundle Birth, one of the things that we talk about a lot and with staff, I'm building a business, but it's a nursing related health related business, and I'm not the only nurse on staff, but I'm the only full-time nurse on staff and I'm also CEO of the business. So I have a lot of staff that are not nurses that literally have never seen a birth that have not birthed themselves. My COO is a male and I have compassion for this, but I have no clue what you're talking about half the time if we're talking clinical, right?
So I'd be curious especially because I don't think I'm probably the only person that would think this, for somebody that is male or identifies as male and is not a nurse, how do you navigate running an organization for nurses? Do you feel like that's a barrier and how does that impact your day-to-day if it does, and how have you learned to navigate and connect not being a nurse? Because also, let me just say, I think nurses are kind of salty about certain things, and even at AWHONN conferences, I've heard people say around me like, well, they're not a nurse. They don't get it, and it's a doctor talking, that's an obstetrician talking to us. But there is this sort of club of like, oh, you get it. And me being a nurse of this organization, there's no possible way I could be doing what I'm doing without having spent time at the bedside in various roles and get it.

Again, I don't think that that's totally necessary, but for what we do, I think it is. So all of that being said, how do you navigate that question very much pointing at you, but also selfishly for us, what do I tell my team when they're like, but I'm not a nurse? And Brian actually told me at one point, he's like, do you think I should go to a doula training? And I was like, no, absolutely not. That is so not the skills that I need. I have the clinical, we're good. But I'd love to know how you navigate that conversation.

Jonathan Webb:
It's a great question. It's one that you can imagine I've gotten on some...

Sarah Lavonne:
I'm sure. I hope really kindly.

Jonathan Webb:
Mostly. So I would first say that in terms of why in this role as a male, I feel, as I mentioned before, I think you even do a really nice job sort of helping us to zoom out. Even though you may have the specialty, the specialized training, or even as a woman or birthing person, you have an experience that I won't have. I do think there are layers and levels to the work, and that impacts me as well as a son birthed by a mother, as the father of a daughter, as the husband to my wife. This is an issue that resonates and impacts all of us. So I don't feel like there's a need for me to stand on the sidelines when we're all impacted. That said, I do acknowledge that there are experiences that I won't have as a male in this space as a person who hasn't birthed themselves as a non-nurse.
So what that means for me, very similar to Brian, is I need to come into the space with a sense of humility, acknowledging my relative strengths, but also trying to be mindful of my glaring weaknesses. And I think if I enter those spaces with humility and a willingness to learn, to engage, to surround myself with folks who can fill in some of those gap areas in my knowledge, I think we become a team. I don't know how into sports you are or not, but I'm a sports person. And you might have a person on the football team. You wouldn't want to have 12 folks on the field, 11 folks on the field, all throwing the ball, right?

Sarah Lavonne:
Yeah, absolutely.

Jonathan Webb:
There has to be somebody who catches, somebody to block. So I think if we understand the roles that we play and we are coming to this space with a level of humility and a willingness to learn, hopefully people will see my authenticity and my genuine interest in wanting to be a support and accept me as most folks have, which I've been really appreciative of being seen as an ally and been granted the opportunity to be in this space and seen as a partner, but I think it's because I'm not coming in with the paternalistic, this is how we have to do it, yada, yada, yada. Because I acknowledge all of the dynamics that you mentioned.

One of the things I am trying to do and have been committed to doing, and I've had a really supportive leadership team, my board around this is, you may have seen this on social. I've been making it my point that when I'm in spaces speaking at a conference or attending a meeting, I get out and spend time at the l&D mom, baby units, the NICUs and those kinds of space with our members to hear from them. That is not going to make me a nurse overnight. That's not the point of it. But I'm able to engage with folks on the ground and hear directly from them what the challenges are and opportunities are that I may not be able to see, one as a non-nurse or someone who's sitting in DC versus someone who's sitting in rural Indiana. Those are the ways that I've tried to approach it and the mindset I've tried to come in with to make sure that people can see me as an ally, using my strength and my space to support, but not as someone who's trying to run over other people's valuable experiences.

Sarah Lavonne:
I think we're comfortable with familiarity. We all know this, right? So it's like, well, what do they know? They're not a nurse. What do you know that I don't know, that you could contribute to my growth and collectively pull resources from other specialties, other areas of politics or religion or culture, other professions? That if we can pull that knowledge and somehow learn to apply it to our lives now, I think we have a richer life experience. That's what I love doing. I just did an interview with somebody who's a national bestseller for a podcast. Her name's Vanessa. And it's not for nurses, but when I was reading the book, I'm like, this is for nurses. This is literally... If we can connect from outside to apply, we're so much better, so much richer learning from this wealth of experts other places, and I think about your experience with public health alone or talking about access to care. We have to understand as nurses that that's something that we're a part of.

The fact that we just sent some gifts to a unit that's closing in a rural area of the US that they're all devastated. There's only 12 nurses on their unit, and I'm like, no, we can't lose a unit. But that's happening and it does affect us. And if we're all caring about the greater bigger picture of birth first in our country, but also I would say globally, how we do better. It's like we have to understand that there are other things happening outside of the hospital system, like you said, that are contributing to the outcomes that we see in the hospital.

And so that's where I'm like, I love that background. I feel like that couldn't have been a better hire with not only your passions, but also your experience to apply to what we do and start to just give us a different lens as well, and obviously learn. I love your humility in that, but I'm like, I want to learn from you and your background because I haven't had all those jobs and I just want to take all the little nuggets. That's how we learn and grow. I think that's so fun that you bring that to the table as well.

Jonathan Webb:
I appreciate that. I do think that we are better and richer when we celebrate and acknowledge our differences and see how we can connect. You mentioned something that sort of resonated with me. I had a friend and a colleague of mine talk about our differences and how they acknowledge them, celebrate them and figure out how... Because you're right, I think it's important for us to step outside of our comfort zone and be able to engage with others and be stretched and grown in different ways. And offered a really interesting visual for me is that if we all come to a space together with the same piece of fabric, and we try to knit that fabric together, then what we end up with is homogenous sheet, a blue sheet, a white sheet, a red sheet. We all came to the space with that square. If we acknowledge though all of our differences, and we come to the table with our unique piece of fabric, we end up with a beautiful quilt. And to me, I think a quilt is much more rich, vibrant and beautiful than just having a mono color sheet.

Sarah Lavonne:
Well, and there's space for everyone at the table that is at an individual level, but also on an organizational level, on a hospital level. So often we get competitive and we want to find our differences and then overpower each other in terms of like, well, I'm better at you than that, and I'm going to shove my sheet in the quilt, and force it in on top of yours and try to overshadow your power both individually, but also think about the competition between units or hospitals and all of that. So even the fact that you and I, both CEOs of companies that do somewhat similar things, very different in many aspects, I think we compliment each other really well, but also we do some similar things. But I think for us to acknowledge that we can sit in this space with the same mission of helping better outcomes, helping people... For us, we say have positive birth memories, that they're not traumatized walking out of their birth, and also for nurses to live thriving lives, I think we all can agree on that.

So it's one thing to force my color on the quilt over yours or you over mine where we could bring each other and then grab from all the resources to make that quilt that's really interesting and diverse, and we can pull from and focus in on and grab from the beautiful skills of this square. And then when I can fill in a gap, I bring my best self to the table rather than all of us trying to be each other. Just be yourself and be your own personality. Bring your own gifts, your own strengths to your units. And then also to these types of organizations, to our profession in whatever way fits for us, our own mental health, what feels right in our bodies for how we continue to build a better future. That sounds very cliche, but I do mean it.

Jonathan Webb:
But that's exactly right, and one of the things that you mentioned there that I just wanted to double click down on, I got my MPH, my Master's in Public Health, and then several years later after being in the space, I got my MBA. Part of that was because connecting back to what you were saying, I felt that the types of programming, the types of system change, the types of things that I was really looking to build and move forward, they weren't happening in one slice of our demographic or one slice of our network. If I stood in a room full of public health professionals and I talked about what the world needed to be or what the system change we needed to have to move the world forward or whatever it was we were trying to solve for, I'd probably be safe in saying that if there may be some back and forth on the details around it, but you'd probably get 90 to 95% of the folks agreeing with me.

When I then take that and try to apply it in the real world, you might have 10% of the people agreeing with me. Because the reality of it is that I don't just live in a space with all public health professionals. I have to be able to go out and connect with business leaders, with healthcare folks, with criminal justice folks, with education folks, yada, yada, yada. So if you're able to engage with more folks outside of that discipline who may have a strength or help you to see things through a different lens, the chance of having something, in my opinion, change or get something through significantly increases.

So you could have folks who are nurses in the same space and most nurses would get it, but then when you try to apply that beyond those spaces, how have you brought other perspectives in to understand what legislation impacts that, what business decisions, geopolitical forces impact this decision? And only by having some of these other conversations and being able to truly compliment each other, in my opinion, are you able to put forth the best comprehensive proposal that stands the best chance of winning and getting through it, and bringing about real change.

Sarah Lavonne:
You mentioned real change. What do you hope that AWHONN can do for our profession? And as far as change, especially acknowledging the current state, what's your dreams for AWHONN?

Jonathan Webb:
That's an interesting one. I would like AWHONN to continue to be sort of the North Star in the space. I'd like us to be able to be a group that pull people together and connect organizations, partners, and really collaborate for the ultimate goal of bringing about equitable health outcomes for moms, babies, birthing and pregnant people. I would like for us to have legislation that supports that. If we are truly successful, values our nurse professionals in the way they should be valued. So from a wage perspective that is recognized. We should snap to that, right? That our nurses are compensated at the value level that we have hopefully addressed or played some role in addressing, the shortage that we've seen and have seen for decades, that we're able to diversify our workforce, that we're able to infuse cultural humility in all of our interactions so that our patients are valued and seen, that we're able to support nurses.

You talked about newer and career nurses, that we're able to support them in doing a real solid job of helping them grow at every level of their career so they can be leaders in their systems and advocates to their patients, all with the focus of bringing about equitable care and supporting, to me, one of our most valuable assets, which are those people who are willing to roll their sleeves up and run into the fire, into the emergency situations, into the environments that would be anxiety producing for most, and a nurse comes in, they're like, I've seen this before. Let's get it done. If we can play a role in any one of those things as the connector, the collaborator, the stage setter for changing those ways about outcome, valuing of our nurses from a compensation perspective and from a, I didn't mention quality of life and care perspective, that we helped able to address some of the workplace violence that we're seeing and really set up this dynamic where nurses can truly serve and lead and advocate knowing that they've got the resources to do so, then I think we would have a win.

Sarah Lavonne:
That sounds like a massive win. I'm like, amen. Yes, let's do it.

Jonathan Webb:
That's true.

Sarah Lavonne:
That would be such a huge win. I love it. Well, thank you so much for being here, Jonathan, and sharing your time and your expertise and your perspective and your dreams for us as a profession. It's always fun to hear people "outside" of the profession. You're very much one of us as well.

Jonathan Webb:
Thank you. I appreciate that.

Sarah Lavonne:
But to feel that support from somebody else, and I'm sure that feels good for our nurses as well. If they wanted to get involved, where do you want to send them? We'll link everything down below in the show notes.

Jonathan Webb:
Yeah, so you can always figure out how to get involved through our website, awhonn.org. The website will, I think is well done. We're going to be updating it, but I think it gives you an opportunity to connect in multiple places. My email address is jwebb@awhonn.org, and I'm happy to engage and connect with anyone anytime.

Sarah Lavonne:
I love that. Well, thank you for being here.

Jonathan Webb:
Thank you for having me. And thank you for all the work you're doing. I think you are providing a valuable service to our industry, and I'm glad that you decided to be a little crazy. I wouldn't say you're crazy or naive, but I would say... You used those terms. I'm glad you decided to step into a different space because I think you're filling a need.

Sarah Lavonne:
Thank you. We're in it together.

Jonathan Webb:
We are, absolutely.

Sarah Lavonne:
Thanks for spending your time with us during this episode of Happy Hour with Bundle Birth Nurses. If you liked what you heard, it helps us both if you subscribe, rate, leave a raving review and share this episode with a friend. If you want more from us, head to bundlebirthnurses.com or follow us on Instagram. Now it's your turn to take what you learned today and go think about what your next steps are for your career path, for your profession, how you can continue to bring your strengths to build a better birthing world. We'll see you next time.